Visalia teacher takes down confederate flag after mother of student speaks up

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The mother of a South Valley student is speaking out about a confederate flag that hung in her daughter's classroom.

The flag has since been taken down, but the Visalia mother says more needs to be done to increase awareness about what it represents, and why it has no place in public spaces such as schools.

Eboni Goodman had her 13-year-old daughter take pictures of the flag inside her 8th grade history classroom at La Jolla Middle School on Monday.

"It represents racism, white supremacy, slavery, everything that is from her ancestry, that's what it represents," Goodman said.

After Goodman confronted the school district with her concerns on Tuesday, the flag was taken down. School district officials say the teacher is saddened about how the flag made the student feel, and is apologetic. They can't comment on whether she has been disciplined or not, but say she won't hang it up again.

"It was never her intent to make anyone uncomfortable or even display it as a symbol of anything other than regalia for the unit she was teaching," said VUSD Area Superintendent Jacquie Gaebe.

District officials say the civil war unit started in January, meaning the flag has been up for a few months.

But Goodman, based on what her daughter says, believes it has been hanging since the beginning of the school year.

Either way, Goodman says it's inappropriate, especially since she says her daughter (the only African-American student in the class), was assigned to a seat directly below the flag.

"No child should feel unsafe," Goodman said. "I don't care if they're Muslim, (if) they're Indian, it doesn't matter their nationality. When they go to school it's a safe place, it's a public place and they shouldn't feel discriminated against, we're supposed to be equal here."

Goodman will meet with La Jolla's principal and Visalia Unified officials next week. She hopes to develop a plan with them to increase awareness and education among staff, students, and the community-so all students, regardless of their race, feel safe at school.

"Are there things that we do that are not sensitive to certain groups?" Gaebe said. "Are there certain things that are offensive that may be we are not aware of that are a part of our classrooms? And we want to continue to learn and grow and make those changes to connect with kids."
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