Newton Taking ‘Appropriate Action’ After Students Fly a Confederate Flag

The city is addressing this latest outrage-inspiring incident involving the symbol.

Students at Newton North High School have gotten a talking to from administrators after video showed them waving a Confederate flag out of a car near the school this week.

The students have not been identified, but Newton North Principal Henry Turner says in a letter to the school community yesterday that “we are taking appropriate action.”

In the five-second video clip, which traveled quickly on social media, a car drives past the school with the flag unfurled out the car’s passenger side window.

“Please know that we take this incident very seriously,” Turner writes. “There are members of the North community who are deeply upset and hurt by the actions of these individuals. At North we strive to celebrate our diversity and create safe and supportive learning environments for all. Therefore I look forward to working with our students and staff in working to repair and move forward from this incident.”

It’s been a year marred by some racial tension in Newton. As the Globe reports, the city hosted a community forum this summer after several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti.

The emergence of the flag in Newton is also the latest in a series of national outrages large and small about the symbol, as it has come to represent the country’s dark history of racial intolerance and hatred, and has been used to intimidate minorities. It’s been at the center of a debate this year that, among other milestones, has seen it removed from state capitol in South Carolina. Mitt Romney strongly supported the flag’s removal in that state. Gov. Charlie Baker at one point defended one’s right to fly the flag, saying it celebrated “tradition,” but later walked that back and apologized.

Of course, before all the attention paid to the flag recently, the conflict has been simmering for years. Locally, Sen. Ed Markey notably disinvited Duke’s of Hazard actor and Ben Jones from a campaign fundraiser in 2013. The snub came after Markey learned Jones was a Confederate flag booster.

Nationwide, it’s still popping up in the local news, often involving high school and college students. Just yesterday, a Florida high school confiscated a Confederate flag from a student who had brought it to a patriotic spirit day. A student at Utah’s Brigham Young University this week removed a Confederate flag from his dorm room window after hundreds signed a petition urging him to do so.