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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.

142 comments

  • path

    Goodness me. It’s a hat, not a chattel chain! We need to move beyond this type of petty nitpicking so true healing can take place. No hurt was intended and none was perceived by the child until the adult instucted him as to how he should feel. This is how prejudice is perpetuated. Let’s think about how we can stop it, not continue to teach our children to practice it.

      • Helman

        @ Johnny Parker it seems you could use as quoted by you “a few updated history lessons” Many Black Men served as body servants to their masters. Many were also promised freedom if they fought. Many dejected and joined the Union. And to your quote “Please do not forget how those slaves (WHITE PEOPLE) got to the shores of this country” and stole the land from the Native Americans and sold over 10,000 native Americans to other countries. Would we be having this same conversation if a Union Hat or Malcom X or BLACK PANTHERS hat was chosen. Those were probably not an option. And since when do they allow hats to be worn in public schools. Or is it OK because its confederate hat?.

    • Tom

      What would you people who are complaining that the mother is making more of something than “you” think it is, if that child was awarded an Equality cap, an NAACP hat, etc? If anyone thinks racism isn’t still an issue, you’re very mistaken. The teacher/school should have been more aware of what was given as the winning bid to be honest.

    • Carson G

      Good grief everyone. first off, that kid wouldve been happy iwth his hat if his mom hadnt freaked out and told him its a symbol of hatred for his people (Which it absolutely is not. thats absurd.)

      second, there were many black soldiers in the confederate army. (no they werent all forced and some of them were officers)

      thirdly, those were Americans. GET OVER IT YOU BIGOTED YANKEES. stop hating on the confederates. the civil war wasn’t started to end slavery. it was started over states rights. slavery was brought in later by Abraham Lincoln as a purely political move.

      This is what he said in a letter: “If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.”

      So i end my post by reminding you that everyone who fought in that war was an American. and not a nasty little racist. so stop demeaning the heritage of millions of Americans by calling them racists and pretending they never existed. stop removing our monuments to confederate soldiers and acting you were personally affected by slavery in the first place.

      • Johnnie Parker

        Thank you H.K. Edgerton….. and to whom ever posted your video. You are a wonderful man who has tried to bring peace….. not hatred about things such as this. God Bless You!

      • Stephanie

        I agree with you that Abe Lincoln had slaves and it wasn’t a priority for him to abolish slavery. But just because it wasn’t one man’s concern does not mean that’s what it meant for others. I believe the South fought so hard for “states rights” because they were bigoted and did not wish to give up their rightful property.

        Regardless, the Confederate flag, no matter how you look at it, is a symbol of treason and sedition. As such, I think it’s fine if you wish to encourage that culture in your home, but anything Confederate has no business being handed out by a US public school.

      • Eve Davis

        You shut up! you “Racist Bigot” your sorted history have only one place in history and that disgrace as most of you let bye gone be bye gone sh*t , you still the relatives and children to the Racist Bigots of the slavery period in this country. From the tone of your little rant on the “Confederate hat” you .indeed a RACIST. You get over it we don’t respect or need the painful remind of how so very inhumane this country once was ,there is No! and I mean No pride in that!

      • Cwfarms

        You are going to call that man a bigot and racist just because he tells facts, yes facts that can not be denied, to an audience that is persecuting this little innocent black boy because that he picked out a hat that he liked? On that his ancestors may have well worn? People that were all fighting a common enemy, of an invading army that raped all colors, burned homes, desecrated churches, stole all food and destroyed what they couldn’t haul off, that would shoot civilians just because they wanted to? Yes blacks, whites, Indians, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, etc all fought for freedom from the oppression of that invading army that killed, and destroyed at will.

      • Douglas

        Your the bigot you and all your kind that wines about racism is the real racist. I have never owned a slave I don’t think anyone now has owned a slave. Hell you don’t even know a slave so shut up Eve

      • Carson G

        ummm @eve davis? calm the heck down. i’m no racist. i recently allowed a homeless black gentleman stay in my home for a month since he had no where else to go. helped him find a homeless shelter too. and i had a black foster brother for a while growing up. so please. calm your racist remarks. Also, I’m originally from Kansas. Not exactly the most confederate place in the world. also, i’m not descended from a bunch of racists and even if i were? you wouldn’t have any right to judge me for it. thats prejudice that sinks just as low as racism. so maam? reread my post and pay attention to the parts where i talk about what the Civil war was all about. thank you. have a nice day…

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, us Yankees won. And you southern idiots wave that confederate flag around as if you accomplished something, which you didn’t.

      • Carson G

        @anonymous in all technicality, i’m more yankee than i am confederate. second, you didn’t win. not unless you’re a liberal in favor of a oppressive government such as we now have. and third? i didn’t see you in a blue uniform. oh wait. you werent there. you didnt win squat. you probably have confederate blood in you as well.

        the war wasn’t between the north and the south, it was between two differing ideologies that divided into north and south. but you know what? I should probably wait until you’ve grown up before i explain all of this in full detail. wouldn’t want it to go over your head with your “we won you lost nah nah nah nah boo boo” mentality.

    • Helman

      @path wow! It seems you know it all. Just curious how you would know that “No hurt was intended and none was perceived by the child until the adult instructed him as to how he should feel”. Enough Said…

      • Diane Gribensk Knight

        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. How do I know he was just walking in the door? IS MOTHER posted the picture on FACEBOOK. So, no one is assuming anything.

      • Helman

        @ Diane Knight 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.

  • Paula Whitaker

    Since the boy bid on it and won it, maybe he just liked the hat. That history is a sad fact but how can we move on unless we stop giving objects like this any significance. I understand how it is offensive but it is just a hat and kids would be better off just to see it that way. That takes away the power any object has to offend. It doesn’t mean we forget the past, just that it doesn’t have that power over us. Just a thought..I’m sure there are other opinions

  • Eric Smith

    This mother is ignorant if she really believes 1. The civil war was fought over slavery & 2. A simple hat can represent slavery.

    • Casey Lester

      Although I do feel this was blown out of proportion, the civil war was definitely fought over racism and slavery. Some will argue that it was over state and federal rights, as well as preserving the union. This is the politically correct way of saying a war over racism. The reason the states wanted to be apart form the union was because the south wanted slaves and the “union” didn’t. Looking over personal journals and letters to family members from those in the war during the time reflect these views of fighting for slavery and racism and rarely talk about preserving the union or state rights.

      • Carson G

        Thats what Abe Lincoln wanted you and everyone in the union to believe. That there was a righteous cause behind his slaughtering of innocent Americans. and thats eventually what won him the war. but look around you today. you don’t think the Federal Government has too much power? the NSA stores everything. EVERYTHING. Obama can get away with anything. thats too much power for anyone, and as a result, our government is becoming more repressive on a daily basis. it is both atrocious and terrifying how scarce freedom is becoming. If the south had won the war maybe abolition wouldve happened in its own time. In fact, there wouldve been a lot less racial tension. thats for sure. and the government would be a lot healthier. the ONLY righteous thing about the union was their desire to free the slaves, but that desire was not shared by the very people who enacted it. the Emancipation proclamation was enacted as a purely political move to keep England from assisting the South, and to “justify” his unjust attack on his fellow Americans “for the preservation of the union” and that is a quote from Lincoln himself.

  • Harry

    Its funny how the kid didn’t see anything wrong with the hat but she did. Many free blacks fought in the war on the confederate side. Maybe she check her history and not teach so much hate!

  • Dean Behrr

    How utterly stupid, yet typical. Thou shalt not offend. I bet mom thinks she hit the jackpot now. Has she sued yet? Maybe obama will outlaw the color gray since it was associated with Confederate soldiers. Does Ms. Lea know that blacks were also in the Confederate army?

  • FaithC

    The mother is just one of those people who has no clue as to the facts of the civil war. She needs to read a bit. She will see that many black men fought bravely on the side of the south.
    I am not sure what she is hurt about. Don’t know how a historical representation of a hat can hurt a woman who has never been touched by slavery in her life.

  • Scot Kimel

    Unbelievable. How is a gray hat offensive? I guess we will have to do away with the color gray now. I think the young man looked great in that hat. Many brave African Americans served in the Confederate Army. It is sad that people aren’t offended by things until they are told they should be. This mother is continuing the legacy of the offended.

  • Fran

    This Mom needs to check herself. She is talking out of both sides of her mouth. The “Hat” represented Nothing to the child, it was just a hat he liked – She has now instilled in her son the very thing she wants to get over.
    As the others have said, a good history lesson should be in store for Mom.

  • Dot Mills

    He seem to be happy with the hat;let it go Mama don’y live in the pastlive for his fotore , thats problemwith our world to much hatred,& living about past , Rant over

  • Michelle

    True blacks fought in civil war but they were made to fight after the south lost too many white soldiers and didn’t have enough men to fight so they enlisted black slaves. These black men were not equal to the white soldier they were just used as pawns in this war. After the civil war blacks were still second hand citizens they couldn’t vote or share facilities with whites. When did blacks become equal not after civil war but after civil rights era 1960 s

    • Stan Hoyle

      Don’t know who fed you all that. I can give you a personal account. My family came to America in 1730 and landed in Pennsylvania. There they purchased 40 slaves and traveled to NC. My ancestor Peiter Heyl then gave each of the slaves part of his land and homes so they could have their own place in return for their work on his farm. He never chained anyone, never beat anyone, never treated anyone less than himself and he passed this on to his children and this has passed on now for 13 generations. Of those Free Men that were with my ancestor their children fought with the CSA to keep the Northern Aggression at bay beside their Hoyle brothers! That’s a fact! Remember this little boy bid on the hat cause he liked it. Funny how he had no clue about racial tension until his mother brought it all up and made a scene. Sometimes we adults need to just let children be children and have fun.

      • Michelle

        You ppl I’m not talking about slavery lol I’m talking about how ppl are insisting blacks wanted to fight in the civil war. They were not wanted they were the only men left to fight when the south lost a majority of their soldiers.
        @ Stan
        Hoyle

        your family treated their slaves good lol you sound so dumb. Even though they were treated good not all slaves were. More than hundreds maybe thousands were killed separated from their families. That’s why black ppl today don’t really know their ancestry like white ppl

      • Michelle

        Don’t forget black females were raped and raised the white ppl children. Black children were play toys for white kids. This is a time were black ppl couldn’t learn to read or they would be killed. It’s a bigger picture . Than what your family did for their 40 slaves the movie 12 years a slave he was a free man and was tricked into slavery

    • Cwfarms

      The US military treated blacks very badly, different companies, different food, lower pay, some they wouldn’t even give guns to and sent them out to be slaughtered. The US military wouldn’t take Southern blacks as pow’s, they just shot them after they surrendered.
      The north was the one who had constitutional amendments to keep blacks out of their states, they are the ones who had the original Jim Crow laws both long before the war.
      The CSA military had mixed units, they fought side by side with anyone who fought. They all ate the same food, they all drew the same pay. The US didn’t do this until Korea. The north had to threaten to shoot their own troops to get them to go near the black regiments. Their were slaves on both sides, but the South generally treated theirs with respect. The north confiscated black and white women and forced them into prostitution, they even coined a new word with union general hooker for his camps. While the South had revivals and prayer meetings. While hundreds of thousands of Southern soldiers were being baptized, the northern soldiers raided homes of all colors, raped women of all colors, stole, burned, salted the land, etc.

      When a northern leader would get court marshaled for allowing and ordering these things Lincoln. Would promote them. Lincoln was an evil man.

    • Johnnie Parker

      Michelle…. One of the Confederate Generals that blacks hate most is Nathan Bedford Forrest. Are you aware that Forrest offered 45 of his slaves their freedom if they would fight along side him? Eight of those black men were in Forrest’s Personal Escort. He did not make them fight. They did so of their own free will. After the war he said he had not fought with better or braver men than those. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne (C.S.A.) wanted to enlist black soldiers to fight for the South. He was told that would not be allowed but still blacks continued to join the southern ranks and no one forced them to do that….. through out the war blacks and whites fought in integrated units in the South while blacks who fought for the union were FORCED into segregated units because white union soldiers did not want to fight along side them!! I have no idea where you got your information from but I suggest you read several legitimate history books and not perpetuate rumors you have heard. Thank you.

    • Diane Gribensk Knight

      Sorry Michelle, you’re rewriting history. Some blacks were made to fight, some fought after being offered their freedom if they went, and some fought because they felt the south was there home. << FACT

      • Johnnie Parker

        You might add that most of Forrest’s former slaves chose to stay with him after the war.

        The quote would depend on what your source of info was.

        And Cleburne died Franklin because of a mad-man named Hood! He was indeed Irish but chose to fight for the South because he loved it so.

        Thanks.

    • Matthew Fleming

      Michelle is all of your knowledge of Civil War history learned through the viewing of Hollywood movies about the war? Believe or not free blacks did exist in the south at the time of that war and many more freely enlisted within within the Confederate army at their own will. Not forced as you so arrogantly seem to believe. Regardless of the fact the woman’s grip about her son wearing a grey cap is ridiculous. Here’s a quick fix. Tear off the tag that reads Confederate and now its a Union cap. Yes believe it or not Union troops wore grey too.. Gasp!! Mind blown!

    • AMH

      Michelle…regardless of anything else…it is over and in the past, is not happening now and we all need to move on. Even white people whose ancestors had slaves are heartbroken and horrified by what happened, but if we can’t let it go and people keep raising hell over things like A HAT then racism will NEVER go away! I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be a part of a person and should be swept under the rug, what I’m saying is, you can’t use it against others that weren’t even involved. Time to let go of it and live. You can’t be treated as equal if you can’t think as an equal. No one owes you, and you don’t owe anyone. As soon as we all start thinking like this…maybe THEN we’ll see CHANGE!

  • John

    The civil war was about illegal taxation on the prosperous southern states NOT ABOUT SLAVERY. What we have here is an education deficit and a flagrant use of the race card, yet again. Grow up people, the south didn’t invent slavery, heck slavery can be traced back to Babylonian times and even specific cases have been recorded by tribes in Africa (tribes enslaving rival tribes ). So it’s not white vs black, it’s not north vs south. If anything the confederate kepi represents the south’a unwillingness to fold under a tyrannical northern rule. Anyway, if you don’t like the south and it’s heritage…..just move.

    • Casey Lester

      It appalls me to see the amount of people who think the civil war wasn’t fought over slavery. That may be the way the south justifies the civil war today but anyone from the time period would say they were fighting for slavery. A lot of people would say it was over state and federal rights but at the time the only right that the federal government was infringing upon was the institution of slavery. The civil war is DIRECTLY tied to the institution of slaver and keeping blacks as second rate citizens. On another not history should always be taught, even to children and in this case it should show the horrors and devastation that racism can cause. Now that you know my side I feel it validates my opinion even more when I say the mother overreacted.

      • Douglas

        Well if history should be taught why not tell them about the Africans selling the Africans to the white people. Or better yet Casey why don’t you look up black slave owners and you will find out there was such a thing you ignorant person

  • Rebecca

    People like that is why racism is still alive. The child found no harm in it. So why make a big deal. Get over it.

  • Alex

    I am appalled at the number of people here who don’t think slavery was at the center of the Civil War. It may not have been the only issue, but it was certainly a MAJOR one. And for the teacher to “not realized” that the cap represented the confederacy is evidence our education system is broken.

    • Johnnie Parker

      @ Alex….. and I am appalled that you do not know that lincoln said he would not interfere with slavery where it existed. You should know that secession was mentioned as early as the war of 1812 @ the Hartford Convention in New England….. and was threatened again circa 1828 over the Tariff of Abominations. The major point on slavery was not that the yanks wanted to free blacks but that lincoln and the north did not want slavery to spread into the opening western territories. All the Confederacy had to do was stay in the union if this had been a question of slavery being the cause of the war. We were fighting for our independence from an overbearing government that we no longer wanted to be a part of….. not because of slavery where it existed. Please read the Lincoln-Douglas debates and you will find just what lincoln thought of the black man…. and believe me his thoughts and opinions were not very pretty. As someone has already stated, he was an evil man!

  • Michelle

    Of course this war wasn’t about slavery the union or confederate cared less about slavery but it’s the fact people think black men were just willing to fight in civil war and that’s definitely not the case. They were made to fight they weren’t even equal citizens they were just used as a last resort.

    • Mr. Papageorgio

      I once thought the civil war was history…at least that’s how I learned it. After reading some of these posts I think the teacher was teaching current events. No wonder the South lost, or should I say losing. With people like this it’s a wonder we don’t still have slavery.

      • Johnnie Parker

        Mr. Papagenorgio….. those of us who have studied about this war do not wish for a return of slavery. In fact, for many of us that fact that slavery existed in the South is deplorable. Please do not forget how those slaves got to the shores of this country. They were brought here by slave ships that flew the the American Flag. They were sold to northerners slavers by their own people! If you read the Confederate Constitution you will find that it states that No further importation of slaves will be allowed into the Confederate States of America. Happy reading, sir. :)

      • AMH

        Don’t you think that if the majority of us are saying this…that maybe it’s a time to listen and realize that maybe you are the problem? Just a thought.

    • Dewyann Boxerlady

      You left out the part that the people that were capturing and selling the people to the Americans were the people of Africa. They were selling the weaker tribes to white people. The black people of Africa were selling their own people for money. Research your history and movies are not research. BTW, slavery is still being a major trade in Africa. It is still legal in Africa to have slaves.

      • Johnnie Parker

        Left out the fact that FREE BLACKS owned black slaves as well. At one point just before the war there was one black South Carolinian who owned more slaves than any white planter in the state. What is the use in bringing up facts here when you are called a racist for telling the truth?

        As to what blacks did in the service of the confederacy…. o.k… James Washington, Terril’s (sp?)TX. Cav. 3rd sgt. Black man. Over three hundred black men and the widows of other black men who fought for the Confederacy drew a Confederate pension after the war…. and this was in one county in TN. alone!

        The righteous yanks beat a black woman senseless on her own plantation is Louisiana because they kept asking her who owned the plantation and where was her mistress. She told them it was her property and she was the mistress….. and the owner of the slaves they were trying to confiscate. This was true but they left her for dead anyway.

        As to what I left out…. that was called the slave triangle. Ever hear of it? But why try to tell that to a bunch of people who get their info from movies on T.V.?

  • Big Rigger

    The bottom line is the child liked the hat, but he would not have been able to wear the hat he liked because of over reaction of others including his mother. I hate to say this but some of the overzealous in the society we live in today may have even hurt him if he wore it in public.

  • kristi

    This is why im ashamed to live in reidsville. This is ridiculous. People r not educated at all about the confederate war. That boy loved that hat. And its a part of history AND HIS ancestors fought in that war!! Get a grip people!

  • Smar Tasse.

    Sad that this woman has no idea what the Civil War was about and who fought in it. Welcome to the “the World of those just Waiting to be a offended”

    • Helman

      @ Smar Tasse to your comment.Welcome to the “the World of those just Waiting to be a offended” just happens to Includes many of your commenters as indicated here.

  • Kim Bush

    This is all a Crock, blacks fought along side the whites in the Civil War. Yeah, We had segregation but over time that last I knew was suppose to have ended as well….Why must people continue to bring up black and white my God We all Bleed RED……and the Confederate Flag and the our US Flag are the same colors for crying out loud. The civil War had nothing to do with Slavery, it was about other things. Yeah, I may be allergic to moving Chocolate because it’s my preference to date or marry a white person, but I am not Racist by any means. I don’t care what color your skin is, If I am respected I give respect back. I love both flags and wear them proudly. This mother needs to stop all the hating she is passing on to her children.

  • R. Rumley

    I’m a little surprised people want to wear a German helmet when they ride their motorcycle, or even purchase a German or Japanese car. However, I built a bridge and got over it…

  • brenda

    wow that was all in the history why in the world does anyone want to complain about confederacy this is stupid as all get out our country is one country our God is one God and when you get to heaven mom you’re going to be there with all God’s children no race color or creid in heaven just saying

  • jason

    really? hey mom while your at it why don’t you petition to have the civil war removed from all history books also. really dont see how you made it through the interview with your head up your a**. its sad that people are this petty and insecure.

  • julie

    The hat should not have been item to bid on period. In years to come white people will be the minority. We will see how the white race deals with it!!! You think you are taking all those meds now you will be popping pills!!

      • stefinie

        AMH! Your pathetic and a follower I’m caucasian and you make me want to just throw-up my dinner gosh get a back bone or just resign your position gosh………

    • AMH

      I would just like to add that white people are being repeatedly made victims of racism. Heard of the knock-out game? Majority of the cases are young black males knocking out white men, women, and children. How much do hear of racism the other way? Not often. What’s even worse is the fact that none of these THUGS are being charged with hate crimes, but if it were reversed, you know that the same grace would not be given. The roles are reversed now and white people are the victims because black people are racist against them because of history that none of them were even involved in. It’s absolutely ridiculous and unfair…and white people are scared to say a word in fear of being called a RACIST. SMH!

  • The One

    Why are black people so intent on keeping racism and hate and segregation alive? they always try to blame it on whitey and its almost as if white people have become an easy scapegoat but dont complain about racism being alive and well when your culture is the one doing it!

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