Students combat controversial flag photo

Class documents themselves wearing flags, opposing hate


Grace Schultz

Ms. Cisco supervises a student run project for students to represent themselves with flags. Senior Andrea Martinez proudly holds a flag representing her culture.

Sam Swisher

According to English teacher Callie Hefstad, students came up with the idea to take pictures of themselves with a flag of their choice to make people realize how powerful symbols can be.

“When the picture blew up on social media my class spent the entire class period talking about it and having a discussion,” Hefstad said. “The students took pictures with a flag that they thought represented them.”

After a picture of students holding a Confederate flag surfaced on Instagram, junior I’sis Brown said the pictures with students’ flags would help promote positivity.

“The picture went out of the young lady (holding a Confederate flag) and there was a lot of talk about it with the 10th graders,” Brown said. “I brought (the idea) to Ms. Cisco, she’s always been a person of action, and we came up with the idea to spread positivity instead of negativity.”

According to freshman Henry Bendickson, he participated in the project because he wanted to do something that would benefit the community.

“There were some rumors going around about someone holding up a flag that symbolizes something that was probably not the best for the community,” Bendickson said. “I wanted to help and get involved by holding up something that could positively impact the community.”

According to Hefstad, she was happy her students took action and hopes this will help them later in life to speak up for what is right.

“Seeing them take action in this kind of instance gives me hope that they are going to grow up to be changemakers and speak up for what they believe in,” Hefstad said.

Freshman Michael Burton said people should learn about symbols’ meanings before displaying them.

“You should do research before you do something or take action,” Burton said.

According to Bendickson, the project helped heal the community hurt by the Confederate flag picture.

“I do believe it had a positive impact because it brought together a community that was broken,” Bendickson said.

According to Hefstad, this situation will result in students’ abilities to question things around them.

“I hope (students) learn how to speak against hate and to challenge the status quo,” Hefstad said.