According to the Missoulian, the display came during the school’s homecoming events last week. Polson allowed students to dress up according to themes from Sept. 26 to Sept. 30
The theme “Color Wars” came Friday.
A long-standing name for the event, “Color Wars” involved the PHS Student Board of Governors assigning each grade level a color. Then, the classes compete to see how many people wear the designated hue that day.
This year, seniors wore black, juniors wore white, sophomores donned blue and freshmen sported green.
The class with the most participants wins the contest.
A pair of white high school students in Montana proved racism is alive and well when images circulated of them wearing t-shirts with “White Pride” on them.
In photos posted on Facebook, a male student and a female student – both unidentified juniors at Polson High School – wore white shirts that both read “Trump 2016” and had the white supremacist slogan.
The only difference between the students’ shirts was the male wore a tank top that said “redneck” with a Confederate flag on the front. The female’s t-shirt read “White Power.”
The white pride display made it onto social media, and a number of people weren’t terribly impressed or happy about it.
In response, Polson Superintendent Rex Weltz told the Missoulian the school’s administrators ordered the offending pupils to their office. Once they became aware of the juniors’ clothing, officials told the students to change.
In a statement, Weltz called it an “inexcusable incident involving homecoming activities.” He added the school district “will take appropriate action based on our policies and procedures, which may include discipline for the individual students.”
According to the New York Daily News, the school ultimately gave the students a temporary suspension.
In reaction to the controversy, Montana’s American Civil Liberties Union released a statement.
“While all students have First Amendment rights, schools have the authority and the responsibility to prohibit speech that is harmful to other students,” it read in part. “The Confederate flag and slogan ‘White Power’ are symbols of hate and intolerance. This incident sadly reflects how we are failing our children in teaching them mutual tolerance and respect for those of different backgrounds.”
:Cough: Hey, UND, hear that? I want to add a different view here. What these two students did was not only wrong, it was particularly hateful as Polson High School is on the Flathead Indian Reservation, and is 64% white.
And just to point to the power of white obliviousness once again, a bit from that article:
Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of ACLU Montana, says peaceful demonstrations like the one outside the football game are an important way to push the community to have difficult conversations about race, including the difference between “White Pride” slogans and expressions of solidarity with communities of color. The ACLU issued a statement in response to the images noting that it intends to investigate the incident as well as the school district’s policies and practices for addressing racial discrimination.
The conversations were taking place even before the football game ended. During the demonstration, Monroe compared the Polson activism with the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota that have drawn thousands in recent weeks. Two young girls, both white, looked on through the chain-link fence.
“What’s Standing Rock?” one of them asked.
Yeah. I’m gonna go paint.