Good afternoon CHS Parents and Community,
Your students may discuss with you a statement that I read this morning regarding my decision to prohibit display of the Confederate flag at Chugiak High School except for approved instructional purposes. I wanted to take this time to explain my decision.
The mission of Chugiak High School is educating all students for success in life. Chugiak celebrates individuality in an environment characterized by tolerance and respect. At CHS, we value diversity and we celebrate that our differences make us stronger together. Behavior towards others that is intimidating and divisive has no place within the walls of CHS. Every member of our school community deserves to feel safe, secure and a have a sense of belonging.
As you may know, the last two weeks have been tumultuous following an incident where several CHS students were photographed while displaying the Confederate flag in the school. The photograph was posted to social media and became the subject of local and national media attention. As a result, students, parents, staff and other community members have been significantly impacted both by this widely known event and by less obvious but equally disruptive underground currents in the community.
Because of the substantial disruption to our school environment and the likelihood of future disruption, the Confederate flag will not be displayed at our high school except in the context of the study of the Civil War.
Students were also reminded this morning that they must have approval from the administration to have any kind of display or presentation at school. Displays and presentations likely to be divisive and disruptive to the learning environment will not be allowed.
In closing, it is important for our Chugiak family to celebrate the common goal of educating for success and to limit disruptions that divide us and interfere with that goal. We live together in a great County. We are residents of the great State of Alaska, and we are all Chugiak Mustangs. There is one display that will always be approved in the halls of this great high school and that is school-approved Chugiak gear!
Editor’s Note: The above is the information Chugiak High School Principal David Legg sent out to parents via the Anchorage School District’s notification system on Tues., Feb. 21. It is in reference to an incident earlier in February when five male CHS students posed with a Confederate flag in one of the school’s hallways and the photo was widely circulated on social media. On Feb. 9, Heidi Embley, the ASD’s communications director, told area media that while the district supports student free speech, it also wants all students to feel safe and welcome at school and that in the district’s opinion, the presence of a Confederate flag does not accomplish that goal.