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St. Anthony’s Expels 4 Students for Racial Incidents

Four students at St. Anthony’s High School have been expelled in two incidents, one involving bringing a Confederate flag to a sporting event, the other in inciting racism through social media.

CBS New York and Newsday reported the incidents.

Two seniors were initially suspended for wearing a Confederate flag brought to a supervised intramural European Handball game at the school gym on Wednesday, April 9.

“After further discussion and consultation, it became necessary to impose additional disciplinary action,” the school said in a news release.

“In addition, two other students blatantly disregarded the principal’s request to discontinue the use of social media to inflame discrimination in the school community by displaying an inappropriate picture and comment. These students have been appropriately acted upon,” school officials said.

Newsday reported that these students, who posed in in blackface on social media, were also expelled.

"The use of any symbol, either historic or current, which carries a meaning designed to revive past injustices, or to inflame discrimination or racial intolerance is completely unacceptable and profoundly offensive." 

The New York Civil Liberties Union weighed in on the controversy. 

“Our motto is more speech, not censorship or punishment,” NYCLU Director Donna Lieberman told CBS New York. “Helping children understand the impact of this patently offensive expressive activity.”

The school is closed for the remainder of the week for Holy Week.  

"As a Catholic and Franciscan school, Saint Anthony’s will always demand acceptance and respect for all races, religions and cultures," school officials said. 

Andrew Scott April 18, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Bill, you are absolutely right. Nothing was "taught." The lesson here is that students can and will be thrown under the bus for political expediency. St. Anthony's Administration failed to do the courageous thing, and educate anyone on anything here. Shame on them.
mike.trezza April 18, 2014 at 01:24 PM
I tried to have a discussion that was respectful and stayed on the issues, Andrew, but if you feel the need to be nasty and personal, allow me to stoop to your level for a moment. You tipped your hand when you said of course it would be different if it were a swastika. And the only thing different is that would offend YOU! As a matter of fact, if that had been the case, you'd be the first one screaming, whining and demanding their expulsion (and probably more). You want to defend their rights to be bigots, except if it is against your group. I see. If you can't see what a HYPOCRITE that makes you, then any further discussion is pointless.
Andrew Scott April 18, 2014 at 03:21 PM
Sorry, Mike. Wrong again. It would indeed be different if the flag in question were a swaztika, for swaztikas are MUCH more widely understood for the symbol that they are. From very early on in New York - and I assume for the rest of the country - Swaztikas are understood - without question - to be symbols of death, genocide, and the Holocaust. (And please don't bring up the Jains of India.) IF the student in question had brandished a flag with a swastika, an appropriate punishment would indeed be a short suspension. I would NOT consider throwing the student out, however, unless he were also found guilty of verbal or physically harassing students, or inciting violence on campus. I WOULD hold a administrative hearing where all involved parties would be present. And then I would demand an apology from the student, one private to the school leaders, and then one made publicly to the student body. I would also make sure that the student UNDERSTOOD WHY what he did was wrong. Some sort of community service or charitable work may also be added to the penalty. This kind of response would be much more of a service to the current (former) student. It is healthier solution, and in the long run, would do far greater good than the present unforgiving, unyieldingly abhorrent alternative.
lizbeth smiley April 18, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Andrew Scott, you are spot on.
Chuck W. April 19, 2014 at 12:11 AM
First off, if these kids were star football players, they would not have been expelled (editor's note: I went to Chaminade, and they pretty much always beat us). One of the things a private catholic school education is supposed to drive home is a broad knowledge of social contexts and a general sense of maturity and decorum.....this act was a complete lack of that. If anything it shows that these kids were complete knuckleheads that probably shouldn't have even made it to senior year. That said, the confederate flag, regardless of your beliefs is a legal act of free speech, just as it is to desecrate a crucifix. Kids have gotten less severe punishments for far worse behavior. A stiff suspension, ban from the prom or graduation would have been fine, maybe a message to the students. This punishment is knee jerk and reactionary.....If the Bro. Cregan's students are truly living the catholic faith, they will heal and forgive...but give them that chance.

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