'Redneck Day' at Queen Creek HS prompts investigation

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- In some parts of the country the Confederate flag still flies, but when a student showed up to Queen Creek High School wearing the flag on his back, the look wasn't flying with some parents, including one father, who asked not to be named, because he's afraid of backlash.

“That is so last century. I guess I want to say we don't raise our kids to be rednecks,” said the concerned father.

The student was participating in the school’s “Redneck Day" event last May, where students were encouraged to dress up.

The event was quickly criticized.

“If it was going to be ‘Cowboy Day’ or something, if the term had been a little different the outcome would have been a little different,” said the father who wanted to remain anonymous.

Civil Rights Activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin called on officials with the United States Department of Education to investigate racial discrimination within the school.

“I found it to be offensive.  I think many in the community did and the department responded,” said Maupin.

DOE officials sent a letter to Maupin that said they're now investigating if the school created a racially hostile environment.

Maupin said the DOE will, "determine the remedy, including moderating conversations between school administrators and civil rights community leaders to shape new policy and racism prevention measures."

Officials also wrote in the letter the investigation's scope, "will be limited to whether a racially hostile environment was created due to language and actions that were not protected by the First Amendment."

Even though wearing a Confederate flag is protected under the First Amendment, some people blamed “Redneck Day” for ruining the school's reputation.

Last October, Queen Creek High School was recognized nationally when the football team took a bullied special needs student under its wing.

The concerned father said, “It puts a spotlight on us that is not wanted.”

DOE officials did not say when they expect to release their findings but did say they will run a prompt investigation.

As of airtime, district officials had not responded to our request for comment.


The Associated Press contributed to this story