Published March 28, 2014
A New Jersey high school student says he was suspended from school after refusing to remove a Confederate flag on his truck.
Gregory Vied, 17, told News12.com he was suspended for flying the flag on his pickup truck, which was parked in a student lot at Steinert High School in Hamilton Township.
Vied says he refused to remove the flag despite repeated warnings from administrators. He says he understands the history of the flag, but that he sees it only as a representation of Southern pride and a connection to relatives from the South.
"Them trying to make me take it down is unconstitutional," Vied said.
The American Civil Liberties Union told the station that Vied's right to freedom of expression cannot be limited, even if there are complaints from students or teachers.
"As the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, students' rights don't end at the school house gates," ACLU Legal Director Ed Barocas said. "It also doesn't end in the school parking lot."
Vied's three-day suspension was cut to one day after the ACLU sent a letter to the principal stating that school officials would have to prove the banned speech would "materially and substantially" disrupt operations at the school.
News12.com reported that some of Vied's friends have shown their support by coming to school with Confederate flags on their cars and trucks, though none of them have been suspended.
The superintendent of schools refused to comment to News12.com on the suspension, citing student privacy reasons.