LEXINGTON, VA (CBSDC) – A 15-year-old boy allegedly said that he was asked to remove or hide images of confederate flags on his clothes before entering the area around Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University this weekend.
The Stonewall Brigade, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1296 is demanding an apology from Washington & Lee University president for the alleged mistreatment of the 15-year-old boy. The boy attended the group’s rally on July 26 wearing Confederate Flag apparel and was stopped by a campus police officer when he tried to enter the campus property.
“Since it was my first time in Lexington I wanted to see the Lee Chapel and the grave of Lee’s horse Traveller,” the boy told WSLS. “As I began to head for the Lee Chapel, a [campus] Police Officer stopped me and said that I could not enter the campus property with my Battle Flag or any images of Confederate Flags on any of my possessions including my clothing. I really wanted to pay my respects to General Lee and Traveller so I had to turn my shirt inside-out, take off my hat, and take off my badge.”
Regarding the alleged incident concerning the boy, Washington and Lee University issued a statement citing that there were four recorded interactions between individuals participating in the rally sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Campus officers asked some of those people not to carry or wear Confederate flags or emblems on campus.
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“The officers characterized all of these interactions as respectful. They did not record names or ages of any of the individuals.In each instance, the officers requested individuals not to carry Confederate flags or to wear attire with Confederate emblems on the campus. The individuals all complied with these requests,” the statement from the school obtained by WSLS stated. “The University chose to take these extraordinary steps — and the equally extraordinary step of closing Lee Chapel for the weekend — to avoid potential incidents. The decision to implement these procedures was based on the extreme nature of many communications that we received in the days leading up to the event. Our primary concern will always be for the safety and security of our campus community and all its members, including the many visitors that we have throughout the year. At the same time, we have been clear that we will not allow outside groups to use the campus as a platform.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants an apology from the president of the college in addition to wanting the school to abide by its own mission statement. The group would also like the college not to block freedom of expression and thought and respect others viewpoints, WSLS reported.
The group rallied in response to the college’s decision to remove Confederate battle flags from Lee Chapel.