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.
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.