According to a report in the Associated Press this Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education is planning to investigate a “Redneck Day” celebration at an Arizona high school. The event has drawn the ire of numerous civil rights groups and residents alike.
Controversy first began swirling around the school when back in May a student draped himself in a Confederate flag in celebration of Redneck Day, which was an addition to the school’s “Spirit Week.” According to school officials, the student was asked to remove the flag.
In the case of the Confederate flag-wearing student, the DOE’s office released a statement saying that the investigation “will be limited to whether a racially hostile environment was created due to the language and actions that were not protected by the First Amendment.”
According to the Arizona Republic:
The Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the Maricopa County NAACP who grew up in the 1940s in the South, said, ‘Our community knows what that flag represents. … A school is supposed to be for education and showing people where we come from, our history, and to try not to go back to some things.
Even before the student showed up with the flag, the designation ‘Redneck Day’ had caused a stir.
Tom Lindsey, superintendent of the Queen Creek Unified School District, said the only intent of the day was to spoof the characters on the reality TV show ‘Duck Dynasty,’ which has Jeff Foxworthy-type humor. The student-sponsored day was a part of spirit week, intended to build school spirit as a lead-up to prom week.