Teachers Displays Union and Confederate Flags In Civil War History Class . . . School Forces Teacher To Retire

unknown  Woody Hart, 70, taught history at the Sutter Middle School in Folsom, California.  In a class on the civil war, Hart displayed the Confederate flag to middle schoolers in his history class along with the union flag.  That educational display reportedly led to Hart being forced into retirement.
 Folsom Cordova Unified School District treated the confederate flag effectively as hate speech and said
“We recognize that regardless of context, to many of our students, families, and staff, the Confederate flag is a racist symbol of hate. Although this matter is under investigation, it is important to reiterate: Any employee who is found to engage in behavior that creates an unsafe environment for students will face full consequences, including the possibility of initiating termination proceedings.”
In this case, the flag — which was found across the room from a Civil War Union flag, potentially in preparation of a history activity — was removed from the classroom before school began today. It is our schools’ responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all children.”

“Regardless of the context”?  Context means a lot.  Listening to a speech of Adolph Hitler in a politics class is very different from listening to the same speech in a meeting on the “Jewish problem.”  It would seem obviously relevant to a discussion of the civil war to show the respective flags.

Hart was the subject of an earlier complaint over a comment that he made with regard to lynching.  Yet, the statement of the board seems to treat any showing of the confederate flag is a form of hate speech.  What do you think?

67 thoughts on “Teachers Displays Union and Confederate Flags In Civil War History Class . . . School Forces Teacher To Retire”

  1. Most of my posts revolve around the same issues. Would the Union Jack be viewed the same way. After all we daughter two wars against Britain to keep and retain our rights. History and heritage are real. Erasing history serves no greater good.

  2. This is pretty crazy to think that he got fired for having a Confederate flag. What is he supposed to do just say they had a flag but i can not show it? What if he showed a picture of it on the projector, would he get fired for that? I know this is a controversial issue but i think firing him went a little to far. Thanks for the post and the information.

  3. I can go with that. I really thought I wrote; “Lincoln’s Illegal War to Stop Southern Independence” but I see know that I didn’t. Any term but “The Civil War” which as we all know is inaccurate. That’s what staying up all night will do to poor typing skills.

    I was hoping that my comments, being as incendiary as my state’s own William Lowndes Yancey, would really touch off some debate.I’ll try another time.

    The South Shall Rise Again!

  4. “Racist Symbol of Hate no matter what the context.” That means that reenactors who might try to come to a school with flags to bring some knowledge that General Johnston’s surrender at Bennett Place, North Carolina was the largest Confederate troop surrender, to put an end that the war was over at Appomattox, would be demonstrating racism.

    To even assert that Lincoln’s Illegal War concerned “racism” demonstrates that they are reading the student’s textbook. While there were a number of contribution reasons, the war was fought because 11 states of the South exercised their legal right to succeed after Lincoln was elected. They succeeded because Lincoln, vowed to stop the EXPANSION OF SLAVERY, but the states that succeeded felt that it was their right to takes their slaves anywhere and that this was a first step toward its abolition.

    Meanwhile, in New England, we had industrial wage slaves, many of whom where children 10-12 years old, working in dangerous factories 60+ hours a week where they were raped, beaten and cheated. If they were hurt, they were fired. You could not turn an injured or sick slave out on the street, that was illegal

    Sometime read “The Slave Narratives” rather than “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and you will get another perspective on the ante-bellum period.

    1. Judge Johnston – that’s the War of Northern Aggression, come on, you can say it. 🙂

  5. When all of the flags and statues are removed and all the text books are sanitized, some group will be claiming slavery never happened.

    1. We are all slaves to something or someone. I have two masters, the IRS and the bank that holds my mortgage. One slip up and I either loose the roof over my head or my freedom.

      BTW, did you know that according to the modern abolition groups, there are as many Black Africans being held as slaves in sub-Sahara Africa than there were at the height of slavery in the USA in 1861. USA 1860 4.5 million; Sub-Sahara Africa today: 5.5 million. I guess since they don’t fly the Battle Flag in Africa, it’s OK.


    1. Mary – he is 70 and his pension is excellent at this point so with SS on top of the pension he is doing alright. Plus he doesn’t had idiot administrators to deal with. People ask me if I miss teaching, and I do miss the kids, but I don’t miss some of the idiot teachers I had to work with and the administration. For every good principal there are 15 that should be fired.

  7. In the 1950s, it was impossible to find (in a mid-size teaching college in Indiana) a single history book covering the War Between the States from the Northern point of view. If only one side gets to tell the story, a lot of people will believe that story to be true. And if the facts are removed because of delicate feelings, someone will rush to present ‘more suitable’ facts.

  8. This avoidance of historical facts is not new. In 1964, my history class had to make individual displays about our country’s development. Our open house was coming up.

    Mine got a B+.
    It was up on the wall with the others.
    Went to see our open house.
    The display was missing and others adjusted to fill in.
    Titled: “The Imperialist Nature of the United States” with reference to Manifest Destiny.
    Dictionary and encyclopedia definitions and articles affixed. Included maps and pictures.

    Asked what happened? Blank looks and nobody knew.
    An early expression of P.C.
    School: Menlo Atherton HS close to Palo Alto CA and Stanford U.
    Major lesson learned re. Expectations and support/ Probably the one most impressed in my mind.
    Provided fuel and purpose for speaking out and seeking to have others heard.

    Ancillary lesson: Don’t expect others who agree with you or support you to be there for support…be surprised if they show up at all. Lost all kinds of respect for the teacher who had given the higher grade.

    1. Renegade – I didn’t learn this until grad school, but it is all in the title. Had you re-titled it, but not changed the material you could have gotten your point across. I agree you were screwed and you were right to be mad at the teacher. He/she at least owed you an explanation.

      1. Thank you for the comment.
        I suppose there could have been a different title but wasn’t given the opportunity. Although, I deliberately worded it so that it would draw attention, which it did but not in the manner expected. I looked for the shock value in one of the richest school districts in the country. Atherton CA at the time had the highest per capita income in the nation. Now it’s in the kingdom of Silica.

        1. Renegade – I am sorry you paid the price. I, too, have paid that price so I know the feeling.

  9. I’m not taking sides here; but, whatever happened to pictures in [history] books? Don’t need to be able to read to see a picture! Or, have the books – or such pictures themselves – been banned?

  10. As a retired history teacher, I can tell you that many, many teachers either skip the Civil War or only deal with it in a cursory manner because of this kind of thing. American history is not being taught and when it is taught, it is not being taught thoroughly or in context. When I started teaching, teachers in high school had academic freedom but now there is none. More and more schools, public and private, have limited what teachers may say or teach. Most now require detailed lesson plans that must be approved in advance.

  11. The mere presence of a Confederate Flag created an unsafe environment for students?

    If the students are so neurotic that they believe they are threatened by a symbol of the Civil War, then I suppose we’ll have to curtail teaching them about slavery at all. It might make them feel unsafe. We’ll just act as if they were 3, and tell them that the world is a safe place, and everyone has always been nice to each other.

    We won’t teach them history, they won’t learn from history, and then they’ll just repeat history.

    I hope none of these fragile teenagers ever visits the South. It’s rather common to see the Rebel Flag displayed.

    School is supposed to be about learning. And the older the student gets, the more uncomfortable facts they are deemed mature enough to learn. That’s why sex ed isn’t taught to kindergarteners. One would think that these students were mature enough to discuss the Civil War. Are there any textbooks that do not depict the Southern Cross? Or is that now non-PC? Does that mean that textbooks will now cull images of the Swastika out of its Nazi history lessons?

    We are raising a generation of neurotic, poorly educated young people who do not understand their history.

    1. Yes, Karen! Well said. This behavior is deeply disturbing. I am experiencing the results of this “coddling” in the workplace. You mention one suggestion , such as, “you must arrive to work on time,” to one who was raised in this overly sensitive environment and it sends them into PSTD.

  12. Ladies and Gentlemen,our fellow Americans have gone mad. We must examine this issue of self-imposed ignorance by censorship deeply and resolve it!

    1. Here here. However, there there as well. The duality, pathetic and unrepresentative of the intentions of the founding fathers, creates these extremes in both directions. One might stop and reflect that if these are indeed the times and Americans (the majority however it is described) wish to defend this present shameful system, which extreme offers the least evil: the extreme of burying the atrocities of the past or the extreme of embracing the atrocities of the future?

      1. “the extreme of burying the atrocities of the past or the extreme of embracing the atrocities of the future?”

        Overlooking the fact you cannot “embrace” something that hasn’t occurred yet; it would be helpful if we had moral absolutes by which we all define atrocity. It won’t happen, but there are some basic rules of civil society, at least in the United States, we should agree on. For instance, we cannot get everyone to agree where rights come from. We cannot get everyone to agree ALL lives matter, Property rights, forget about it. When even those fundamental principles are in question then even the definition of atrocity will be in the eyes of the beholder.

  13. How do we move forward if a history class can not be about history? A profoundly sad comment on the state of our classrooms.

  14. “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Abraham Lincoln

  15. Too sheltered (repressed) a curriculum.

    Folsom, which produces images of the state penitentiary there, is actually a pretty and rejuvenated small town in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada at the county line of Sacramento and El Dorado Counties. Lots of commuters are heading out there from the City of Sacramento for the cheaper new home prices and space. I’d guess the school district is politically oversensitive to attract newcomers and revenue to the neighborhood. From the facts given above, the school administration has made a mistake.

  16. What do I think? At any college or university, the School of Education will be a great collecting pool of dolts. They get EdD degrees, get jobs as administrators, and make our schools the parodies they are today.

  17. This is another example of the good of a cause being undone by mindless expression of that cause. History cannot and should not be erased. The only way to avoid repeating the mistakes is to understand the mistakes. To truly understand how vile and perverted the causes represented by the Confederate flag were, one must show the flag. This goes with Nazi doctrines as well as any other vile moment in the history of the world. The professor was illustrating the point in the only way it should be illustrated.

    This is the same problem we have with literature. The world’s greatest writers wrote in the vernacular of their day. To truly understand their work, one must understand their moment. Mark Twain is diminished when the ‘n’ word is omitted (even here it has to be omitted). The reader is shortchanged in every way. The realization that those days were not so much the ‘good old days’ for all is also lost on the reader. In order to learn from history, historical fact must be at the forefront.

    This is why the lies, exaggerations, and alternative facts spewed by today’s so called leaders are particularly dangerous. Too bad there was no way to retire early some people who are pathologically so dangerous in this way. This country is composed as much as is a classroom; there are those in the classroom who would benefit from learning the shame that was slavery and the resulting Civil War and learn and there are those who would return or regress to the very mentality that created slavery, and the associating of rights with slavery, and the giving of laws to slavery, etc.

    1. I can’t remember who said it, but this quote, “No man would want to be judged out of the context of the times that they lived” always pops in my head.

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