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Howard County Holds Unity Rally After Confederate Flag Controversy

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- Confederate flag controversy. A community rallies together after students were disciplined for carrying the controversial symbol at school events.

Meghan McCorkell is just back from the rally.

Community leaders say they wanted to hold Monday night's rally to start a community conversation about the controversial flag.

A picture being shared on the web reportedly shows students from Glenelg High School waving a Confederate flag at a recent football game. Days later, school officials say two students draped the flag over their shoulders.

"Whether it was intended to be racist or not, it was incredibly insensitive," said Jason Bladen of Phi Beta Sigma.

Robert McMillan is the parent of a student at Glenelg.

"This is the first time I've ever seen a Confederate flag being raised in the school," he said.

County Executive Ken Ulman says the incidents have raised the fear level for some.

"I've talked to parents of students who attend Glenelg High School who said that their children really did have a tough time going to school knowing that those thoughts and feelings are out there," Ulman said.

Now community leaders are coming together to denounce the waving of a flag that some consider a symbol of racism and hate.

"We want to make sure that this incident that was really unfortunate and unhealthy does not define who we are as a county," said Rev. Robert Turner with the African-American Community Roundtable.

School officials say the students involved in the two incidents have been disciplined but won't say exactly what punishments were handed out.

"We are committed that everything we do keeps our children safe and on the right track for success," said Howard County Schools Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose.

Officials say that right track involves teaching students that actions like this can be hurtful.

Monday night's rally was attended by many community leaders and members of the Howard County school board.

School officials say while carrying a flag isn't a violation of school conduct, students can be disciplined for interfering with the learning environment.

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