Reidsville mom upset after school gives child Confederate hat as prize

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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.


  • RS

    I hate to say this but, imagine how much bullying this boy is going to get from his own race over wearing the hat.

  • sunshine

    To all that feel like this situation is nothing a woman complaining about petty racial bs ask this since I feel most of the responses have come from caucasian race?? Here’s my questions if this mother is so “Wrong” where’s the “UNION” HAT why don’t they have something like that for the children

  • Mark

    Anyone else catch the fact that he bid on the hat and win it.
    It says students had the chance to bid on the hat.
    Then later says, the student who won it, lost it later but found it in lost in found then wore it home.
    So he wanted the hat. It’s just a hat.

  • brad

    If the little guy would have sported some shades to accent the earring & turned the hat backward…baby momma would have loved it!

    • dan

      hahaha agreed. Please, can everyone just start making fun of this situation?? We are wasting brain cells even discussing this – I’m becoming increasingly stupid the longer I type on this subject…

  • Suzanne

    I am a descendant of several confederate soldiers and slavery was not the reason for the war between the states. blacks served in the confederate army in several ways also. People need to not forget the history or we will be doomed to repeat it. Let’s learn about history and not be afraid of being offended.

  • Diana

    I agree with Mark and James, the child CHOSE the hat- he had a choice of what he wanted to buy. He liked the hat, the hat was just a hat to him. The problem here is the ignorance of the parent, plain & simple. It was an innocent choice by the child that the parent chose to be offended by. She should educate her child if she wants him to make more educated decisions about his choices in life. Don’t blame his choices, actions and behaviors on the teacher or school.

    • sunshine

      Look that’s also the school JOB!!! That’s what she sends him to be educated he’s to young to understand it seems to comprehend what it meant that’s what makes it sad they took away his choices because if had understood What the war was about he have made have chosen something to purchase with his”BIG BUCKS” so his stepped in for him that’s what she suppose to do and defend her baby child no-one else was doing it and of course Caucasian thinks it’s alright there child coming home with a UNION hat in the SOUTH!!!!!!!!

  • AMH

    Lord have mercy…this is ridiculous! This is why racism still exists! It is a hat..just a hat that doesn’t represent anything other than the fact that this is the south and the southern soldiers wore it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended to be a racist thing…and assuming so is just being racist yourself. You live in the south…get over yourself! I’m just gonna say it…I have nothing against any other race but when other races act like this and are over sensitive, then it drives a wedge and CREATES racism. We can get rid of it unless all sides are willing.

    • Mrs Weinberg

      How is this mother racist? Would it be OK to give my Jewish child an SS hat? Absolutely not. It may be a hat to you but to others it represents a lot of hatred and pain our older family members suffered. It is NOT ok that this was handed out in a school who should check things before giving them out. I am a teacher and I can’t imagine the fall out had I done this in my Bible Belt public school in the South. They know it wasn’t OK.

  • General_Johnny_Reb

    “The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states.”
    Charles Dickens, 1862

    Slavery was a fictitious reason for the Federal government to seize control of the power of the States and to gain absolute control of the strong economy of southern states. It had more to do with southern states directly importing and exporting goods from southern ports than it did with the already dying practice of keeping slaves. The southern states bypassed the union by and did not allow them a cut of the monies. I quoted Dickens statement (of which he has MANY more anti-union ones) because he is a highly regarded educated literary genius who was UNBIASED as he lived in niether the north or south.

  • Pat Snider-Odum

    Just something else for someone to get their panties in a twit over. I know that there are SOME people who continue to uphold this stupid black-white thing and for that I am sorry. But for someone in the year 2014 now is not the time to look for it it is time to let it go louie.

  • Carla Akins

    Wow, nit-picking? No, it’s not – it’s wrong. The school should not have offered it, if the boy didn’t know what it stood for, the school is failing him and failing to speak up about these issues simply perpetuates racism. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Josephine Bass

      The school is wrong to bow down to this racist mama; They are wrong and what they are doing to the Confederate Americans at their school is wrong. The naacp is the cause of all this hatred and it should not be tolerated and given in to.

      • Helman

        @ JOSEPHINE BASS; THERE ARE NO CONFEDERATE AMERICANS Did you know they lost that war on April 9, 1865. Just wanted to update you.

      • Josephine Bass

        I am a Confederate American. My entire line of dead and living kin are Confederate Americans. Our ancestors came to Jamestown, Virginia and they were Virginians, authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; Patriots of our 1st War for Independence and founders of THESE United States. Our Charleston ancestors are Carolinian in the 1700s; I also have a great great grandfather that was on the Mayflower, arrived in Plymouth, MA but came South in 1863 and never left. There are black and white Confederate Americans, who are descendants of the patriots of our 2nd War For Independence and forced into THE United States by bayonet and gun. NOT every slave or black person is your kin and ancestor as some activist claim in their rants, they may be the same color as you but that does not make them kin or an ancestor to you.

  • rick o

    Some fought black and white over rural agriculturial freedom and not industrialization. Not all confederates owned slaves nor were racist. I Have Strong Feelings For My Family History and Confederate Heritage! Why Can’t I Embrase This Without Your Hate & Bigotry?

    • Josephine Bass

      Because there are black racist that is why and this mother is making her little boy a hater too; the school is helping her make all the kids haters, shame on her, shame on the school, and keep your guns loaded! I agree with the General Johnny Reb comment above; teach thyself and da..the schools because:

      “For every slave the slave traders sold the South more than ten were sold to Brazil, Cuba and the West Indies. Why is all the hatred over slavery directed at the South? by Francis W. Springer in WAR FOR WHAT?. (only 300 pages all you will ever need about the War.)

      • stefinie

        Are’nt you my old old history teacher? Miss Bass? Yea that’s you “WOW” how are you? Small world I never forget a double chin you were a racist then and your still practicing? It’s so good to see you still alive that is gosh it’s been what over at least 10 years my parents raised me well Yes I’m in college and studying hard they warned me not to pick up none of your bigotry and hatred and you will be estatic to know I haven’t I steer clear of people like YOU and your kind and I’m living a guilt free life I do hope you can say the same? Well be good and be sure to take care of both those chins I’ll make sure to tell my folks I ran into you and your still ad racist as ever. Toodles,

    • Helman

      @ Rick you are Right that “Not all confederates owned slaves nor were racist” and this should certainly be noted. The majority of soldiers were of the white race that fought in the Civil War. Everyone should embrace there history without bigotry. But, the line is crossed when people try to push their embrace upon other people.

  • Pat

    I just hope the mom reads all of these comment and realizes what a big mistake she made by making a big deal of this. This only racist here is “the mom”.

  • AMH

    …oh, and if it’s any indication as to the type of person she is…her profile picture on her facebook page says “power to the people” and they have contacted the NAACP and they are going to investigate and have contacted the Rev. Yeah, who’s the racist?!

  • Helman

    Just wondering. We send our kids to school to get a public education. SO, what was the lesson that this 3rd grade student received about this hat prior to receiving it? Just wondering, how much different this conversation would be if your child came home from school wearing a Malcolm X hat that he purchased at his school. Please take time to think outside of your box.

  • Helman

    I commend this courageous mother for speaking out and shining the light on this controversial object that was encouraged by the school. She did what she was suppose to do. May The LIGHT ALWAYS SHINE BRIGHTLY on every ACT of RACISM.

  • RadarGort

    Only in Bazarro America !!!!!! Let’s see, Christmas is offensive, Dixie is offensive, Confederate is offensive, Southern heroes like Lee, Davis and Stonewall Jackson are offensive, Jesus is offensive, God is offensive, the Ten Commandments are offensive, the Confederate flag is offensive, oh yeah George Washington is offensive cause he had slaves, Redskins is offensive, Confederate history is offensive, American history is offensive, Merry Christmas is offensive. Now an offensive gray cap that that has that offensive word “Confederate” in it. What an ignorant and pathetic society that our poor nation has become. I shall always have fond memories of the America that Was, when Wisdom and Integrity and Decency and Common Sense was the rule and not the exception.

  • Malcolm

    The mom did right by exposing the school more and more anything that represents the confederate is not accepted. The confederate flag is offensive to all races it’s clear the confederates fought in the civil war in order to keep slavery legal that’s the only reason for the war

    • Douglas

      If I’m not mistaken Malcolm we live in the south where the confederate states were. So if you and the rest of the world who thinks a flag is racist now leave. I mean everything about white people is racist to hear people say. It’s a flag or better yet about this article it’s a hat so shut up

      • Helman

        Because it’s A replica of a Confederate HAT. Would you allow your child to parade around in a Malcolm X hat? why WHINE Douglas. Students aren’t allowed to wear hats in public schools. But they allowed a Confederate Hat. The offering of that hat was with a racial undertone. We all know it. So quit kidding yourself. You know better. And who cares where you live the confederate states don’t exist, So maybe you should leave now.They lost the war and many family members for being stupid enough to go against there country. How dumb was that.The flag and is a symbol of slavery to most. .

      • terri

        The confederate flag is a thing of the past. It’s nonexistent. So why fly it. Most non American flags flown in this country have a nation they represent. The confederate flag represents nothing but the past please let it go and fly an American flag. What’s wrong with our flag …

  • Helman

    @ Diane Knight at your comment “Ummm… because there’s a picture of the boy wearing the hat JUST AS HE WAS WALKING IN THE DOOR from school…and he had a huge smile on his face” So, no one is assuming anything” LOL. Once again this is still just your assumption. This may be hard for you to comprehend and I get it it. But you DONT KNOW THAT FOR A FACT, that a picture of a smile meant it was for that HAT. How about he just smiled for the camera.

  • Cwfarms

    Since this article is about a NC kid, who just wanted that hat, and had no problems with it until his mother threw a racist fit. I had ancestors in the 42nd NC, the 12th NC, and other units I am uncertain of the exact unit on. They were Catawba Indians, their Grandfather fought in the Revolution. They were heroes. They didn’t own slaves, they fought because an invading army was there, and threatened their families. I have pictures of them at Confederate reunions after the war. One was severely injured at Gettysburg, one was a mail carrier, etc. this lady needs to stop being racist, and stop spreading hate, especially not teach her son to hate people who he doesn’t know, and has done no one any wrong.

  • RadarGort

    This kid looks good in his gray Confederate cap. Who knows , he may have had a relative that served with the Confederacy. There was more racial diversity in the Confederate army than many people realize. Certainly the politically correct, government school system doesn’t want it known but there were several thousand black soldiers in the Southern army. There were a good number of Mexican Confederates who served too, mostly in Texas and a good many American Indians were in the Confederate service. A few Orientals were Confederates and at least one Hawaiian served in the Confederate Navy on the famous raider CSS Shenandoah . Some monuments were erected and honor loyal black Confederates. One is at Harper’s Ferry and another is in the small town of Madison, Mississippi. The beautiful large Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery also honors loyal black Southerners but of course it is not part of any tour there. Confederates of many different racial, social, religious backgrounds served together because one thing that they all had in common was that the South was their HOME. We should remember them for having the courage to defend their homeland that was being invaded by a large destructive, Union army sent to subjugate the South.

  • johnathon

    I don’t see a lot of British flags flying all over the country. I believe that most people that fly the confederate flag or wear anything that represents the confederate are doing so for attention or to offend others.

    • Douglas

      Is that so maybe it’s because their ancestors fought in the war you know there were white people back then. Is black people the only ones who can talk about the ancestors. I mean hell why wine about a hat anyway.

    • Josephine Bass

      Well, Johnathon if that is all it takes to offend you then you need to toughen up your hide. I had too grow a tough hide to protect myself from all the slurs and garbage your type throws at Southern Confederate Americans. My mama always told me not to feel sorry for myself!

  • Dee

    I am sure the teacher did not realize what it was and I wonder if mom would have if it were not on the label. Teachers at South End spend much $$$ out of their own pockets to reward good behavior. It makes me angry because teachers do not have to have auctions they do it because the kids enjoy them and they again are used as a reward! He picked the hat and bid on it. It was not given to him. I suppose the answer is to stop the auctions and only look at what children do wrong instead of rewarding good behavior. That will make more kids want to go to school. TEACHERS ARE UNDER PAID AND DO MUCH OF THE PARENTING OF MANY KIDS! UGH!! Mom is looking for $$$.

  • Cwfarms

    It was a wonderful thing as a prize. It could be a teaching tool, to teach young people how the people all joined in together to try to defend themselves against the invading army, who made war on civilians, raping women and children of all colors, who stole everything most people had, who killed civilians for no reason, who had no redeeming qualities. It could be used to teach how righteous the South was and how heathen the northern armies were. How well the south treated the blacks and how awful the north treated them

    • AMH

      Yep…and will also teach them to continue hating white people for what some white people chose to do before any of us were living…. because that seems like a great reason to continue the hate.

      • Cwfarms

        Ok, if you choose to go that route, then since blacks from the Barbary coast enslaved whites for hundreds of years before the Yankees started buying blacks from the Africans for slaves, then the whites should, what just forget about that history?
        You have a whole month commerating black history. You choose to honor bad men when you have good men you could honor. You pick one of those bad men to put down one of the few national Confederate holidays, and try to do away with Lee-Jackson day, or in many states called Confederate Memorial Day. You put in it’s place a man that you choose to honor that ran around on his wife, was a communist, was a thief, was a murderer, was an all around bad person. You could have chosen many great black men to honor, but their birthdays didn’t come close to the National Confederate Holiday called Lee-Jackson day. Your ancestors held white men as slaves, my ancestors held black men as slaves. Neither of us ever had a slave. The war of Northern aggression was not fought over slavery, Lincoln wanted the 13th amendment to be that they couldn’t touch slavery. He even offered up all the confiscated and runaway slaves that still lived as late as Feb 1865, and to leave slavery in place, the South offered to free all slaves if the north would just go home and leave us alone.
        All this little boy wanted was a hat, and he was proud of getting it

  • Cwfarms

    The war of northern aggression is over, but it is important that the lies the Yankees print in textbooks is told.

  • Tom White


  • GC

    Even if you think that a hat can “stand for a dark time in our history” you should understand that just because it is an unpleasant history, that doesn’t make it any less real. It happened, get over it and stop living in the past. I have ancestors who were killed fighting with the Confederates who never owned slaves. I believe slavery is wrong but I’m proud of their service. I never had to bear the burdens that they had to bear, so I have no right to claim any credit or make any claims as to their service. Likewise, there is not a single black (I refuse to use the term African American- they are American, plain and simple, not African American, just like I’m not a European American, I’m simply an American) individual who had to suffer through slavery in America, so they have no claim to complain about slavery. It is and was very wrong, but southerners today didn’t enslave anyone, and blacks today weren’t enslaved, so everyone, black and white, needs to get over it and spend time educating yourselves about our history instead of complaining to each other.

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