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Idaho school tells student Confederate flag is a gang symbol

An Idaho high school student faced expulsion this week for displaying a Confederate flag that school officials said was a gang symbol.

Jordan Beattie, a student at the COSSA academy, an alternative school in Wilder, removed the flag from his pickup truck rather than be expelled. The school doesn’t allow gang colors or insignias on campus and claimed it was local cops who said the flag was an indicator of gang affiliation. But the Caldwell Police Department disputed that.

“We don’t look at the Confederate flag as a gang symbol,” Capt. Frank Wyant told KIVI-TV. “We don’t encourage anybody to take it down. Those are their rights, and that’s what we’re here for, to protect and uphold their rights.”

Now school officials say Beattie isn’t in danger of being expelled.

“There is no disciplinary action going forward,” the alternative school’s CEO Harold Nevill told the Idaho Press Tribune Thursday. “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

The trouble started when Beattie got the flag as a gift from his girlfriend and drove to the school with it.

The school told the student and his mother that the Stars and Bars could be interpreted as a gang symbol.

“Gang related? Absolutely not,” Sherry Beattie told KIVI. “No, I’m 100 percent against gangs.”

Nevill told the Press Tribune the Idaho Department of Corrections has a website that contains resources for identifying gang symbols and indicators.

One of the indicators listed was the Confederate flag.

“If it’s on the website, it’s not allowed on school property,” Nevill said.

He said Caldwell police had directed the school to use the website.

The paper said it wasn’t able to access the website because it was wasn't operating. It quoted a Corrections Department spokesman as saying the agency was looking into the problem.