Virginia students pose with Confederate battle flag for school spirit day

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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) — School officials in Virginia have found themselves on the defensive after several students took pictures of themselves displaying Confederate battle flags for a school spirit day.

Many expressed outraged after a social media post showed the students at Jefferson Forest High School.

The post has been shared more than a thousand times. It's from the school's Country vs. Country Club" spirit day and was added to Snapchat first and then uploaded to Facebook.

"This is a wound that's been allowed to feaster," said parent Lyman Connor. "It was people walking the halls with Confederate Flags..in the cafeteria."

Connor says enough is enough.

He says his daughter and other students at Jefferson Forest High School have been targeted by racist bullying.

On Tuesday, Connor took to social media, sharing photos and writing that the school has "overtly racist students."

The photos were taken on Monday, on school property during Spirit Week.

"'Well, it's just a flag,' no, understand the past history, this is something that's been going on constantly," Connor said.

Connor's post garnered more than 1,500 shares and led to many expressing outrage.

Bedford County Public School officials say they were unaware the photos were being taken.

They released a statement on Wednesday, saying:

"On Monday, February 4, 2019, several JFHS students displayed various flags, photographed themselves with the flags, and then posted those images on social media. This posing, photographing, and posting was not reported to staff on Monday, as it occurred in a matter of seconds. Though our school and student population was and has not been disrupted by the posting, we have received considerable concern about the post from parents and others in the community related to the theme of the post and what they believe it implies about our schools and community.

Any time our staff witnesses or receives a report of any disturbing behavior, we investigate the matter immediately and take all appropriate action, as we have done in this case. It is troubling to see what has transpired on social media following the incident, as what has been alleged by many is simply not true and in no way reflects Jefferson Forest High School and the high standards we hold for our students and staff.

Ensuring the physical and emotional safety of our young learners is always our top priority, and we will continue to work with our entire school community to foster a climate where everyone feels welcome."

The statement did not say specify what actions were taken in response to the incident, did not include an apology, and did not mention possible discipline.

"I think my next steps as a parent are to ensure that my daughter never, and her friends and other children never, ever have to suffer this again," Connor added.

The incident comes amid calls for the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam because of racist photos that appeared in his medical school yearbook and of Attorney General Mark Herring, who also admitted to wearing blackface.