Statement from Caitlin Borgmann, Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana:

In light of the "Color Wars" homecoming event at Polson High School that quickly got out of control, it is important to remember that, while all students have First Amendment rights, schools have the authority and the responsibility to prohibit speech that is harmful to other students, and to maintain a safe learning environment. The Confederate flag and slogan “White Power” are symbols of hate and intolerance. This incident sadly reflects how we are failing our children in teaching them mutual tolerance and respect for those of different backgrounds. The ACLU of Montana will be investigating the incident and reaching out to the school to make sure appropriate policies on bullying and racism are in place and to advocate for concrete steps to education, awareness, and a safe environment for all students. If you have been subjected to harassment in the Polson High School or are outraged by what happened there, here’s what you can do immediately: protest peacefully; write a letter to Polson High School’s Superintendent Rex Weltz (rweltz@polson.k12.mt.us); if you have cause to be alarmed for your safety, document everything (e.g., take screen shots of any threatening messages) and contact the ACLU of Montana at aclu@aclumontana.org or 406-443-8590.

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