REIDSVILLE, N.C. — A Reidsville mom is upset after her son came home wearing a replica Confederate army hat he received as a reward at school.
Natasha Lea noticed her nine-year-old son Jacob was wearing a new gray hat when he got off the bus earlier this week, and a closer look revealed it was a confederate-style costume piece.
“I did not want to believe that. That the school actually let him walk around as an African American child with a Confederate cap on,” insisted Lea. “This stands for a dark time in our history,” she said, pointing at the hat.
The hat does not have a Confederate flag on it. A tag inside says “Confederate” and a price of $4.95. Lea says it represents slavery and oppression whether it bears a flag or not.
“What is this hat doing in that school, period? For any child?” she questioned.
Rockingham County Spokesperson Karen Hyler said the school system is aware of Lea’s concerns.
“At South End Elementary a classroom teacher rewards students with ‘big bucks’ for positive behavior,” Hyler explained in a statement today.
“Before winter break in December, the class had an auction where students could bid on different items using their big bucks. Many of the items are donated by families. One of the items for bid was a grey cap with a black bill. The cap did not feature any additional decorations.”
The cap was donated to the school, she confirmed.
The statement added, “The student who won the cap misplaced it and found it in the school’s lost and found on Jan. 13. When the student wore the cap home, the parent saw the price tag that stated in small print that it was a replica confederate hat.”
School leaders looked into Lea’s complaint.
A statement concluded, “Ultimately, the teacher had no malicious intent offering this cap as a reward. The school has reflected on this issue and will be sure to thoroughly screen items donated to err on the side of caution that they could not be seen as potentially offensive.”
Lea said even if the situation was an oversight, she wants the school to be more considerate in the future.
“I am very, very hurt,” she said.