Members of the Board of Education on Thursday agreed to expand the district's existing dress code to include a specific ban symbols and imagery that may offend large groups of students, including the Confederate flag and a Nazi swastika.
"I do believe in freedom of speech," board chair Mike Lee told ABC11. "But I think there is a limit to that. When it comes to bullying, or intimidation, or things of that sort, we have to draw a line for what safety and security is for our students."
According to the current Student Code of Conduct, Students are prohibited from wearing clothing, jewelry, book bags, or other articles of personal appearance which:
1. depict profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, or violence;
2. promote use or abuse of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol;
3. create a threat to the health or safety of the student or others;
4. are prohibited under the Gangs and Gang Activities Policy (III-7);
5. are reasonably likely to create a substantial and material disruption to the educational process or to the operation of the school.
READ: Durham Public Schools Student Code of Conduct
"This is a teachable moment," Lee added. "Our students need to understand the history of these ideas, why they're offensive and how they came to mean what they mean today.
If approved, Durham's changes would mirror the changes made earlier this week in neighboring Orange County, which officially added confederate symbols, swastikas, and the KKK, among other things, to the list of banned imagery on clothing, backpacks and other apparel.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro, similarly, approved a measure Thursday to expand the district's harassment and bullying policies, forbidding "any use of oppressive symbols such as the Confederate Battle Flag or Nazi Swastika."
Also on Thursday, the Durham Board of Education adopted a resolution decrying the "racist" and "anti-Semitic"events in Charlottesville, and called on all teachers, staff and faculty to "work and teach daily against racism and religious hatred."
The Board of Education will meet again on August 24th.