Loading
Search
TOP STORY

Elcho parents debate Confederate flag at a school board meetingSubmitted: 09/25/2017
ELCHO - Two weeks ago, one high school student told her principal she felt intimidated when a classmate wore a Confederate flag sweatshirt. That complaint started a conversation--and a controversy.

On Monday night, members of the community for and against Confederate symbols in school had the chance to speak out on the issue.


Dozens of people attended the emotionally-charged Elcho School Board meeting. Many were parents to Elcho students, some were simply concerned community members.

The school board didn't have plans to make any decisions related to the school dress code Monday, but the board did allow everyone a chance to speak their mind.

"I fly the flag everyday. And I'm proud to fly the flag," said one parent of an Elcho student while showing off his confederate flag-themed arm tattoo. 
 
"Regardless of what it represented at one point, what it now represents because of our history is this," said Wendy DeNamur while showing pictures of KKK members holding a confederate flag.

People at the meeting were divided on whether or not students should be allowed to wear confederate-themed clothing.

Some parents of Elcho students were concerned what changes to the dress code would turn into.

"I'm concerned that this will be a slippery slope," said one mother of a junior at Elcho High School. "Will we send home a student who's wearing a gay pride rainbow on their shirt?" 
 
Others were confused as to why Confederate-wear was now an issue.

"This child wore a sweatshirt for two years," one parent said. "Our children here have flown a Confederate flag on the back of their trucks for years, and it has never been a problem. Until for some reason this year."

Samantha DeNamur, the student who reported the Confederate sweatshirt, said bullying is the reason for previous silence on the issue.

"It wasn't addressed for two years because people were afraid," DeNamur said. She also said she has been bullied since she spoke out.

"I was harassed to no end for two weeks."

Bullying became a common theme in the meeting. One parent, named Wendy, said both her daughters have been pulled from school at times because of bullying.

"I have a problem with that flag, but I have a bigger problem with someone who has the bravery and the courage to get up and stand for what they feel is an issue, only to be harassed and intimidated," she said.

A man at the meeting, named Steve--whose is the student who wore the Confederate sweatshirt--said his son has been affected by the situation too.

"My son has been put through the mill with this conflict here," Steve said. 

Steve said his son meant no harm.

"I understand both sides of this story here... but it was just a sweatshirt," Steve said. "It didn't mean anything, and now it's out of hand to this?" 
 
The school board took time near the end to thank those who spoke.

"This is an emotionally charged issue and everybody has had an opportunity speak, and I thank you, everyone of you, for speaking from your heart," one board member said. "It helps us."

School Board President Dave Visser said the board is seeking legal counsel about the dress code before any official decisions are made. Until that happens, the dress code issue will not be put on the agenda.


Story By: Dakota Sherek

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story






 LOCAL NEWS

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.

Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway.  The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.

They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time.  About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.

"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.

Wednt hauls boats for Shoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.

"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said.  "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.

The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.

Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.

The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Lake Tomahawk's Camp American Legion gives active military members, veterans, and their families a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. 

The new director of the camp, Don Grundy, saw some changes needed to be made, especially when it came to the speed limit near the entrance of the camp that sits off County Highway D. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Typically, most people avoid spending time in junk yards but one Minocqua couple finds beauty in turning old antiques into art.

Since 2012, the retirees opened up the Rusty Truck, a business that turns aged, rusted pieces into rustic furniture and art.

Owner Mike Gang says after he retired from being a firefighter, he wasn't going to let his hidden talent go to waste.

"I love seeing things and seeing what they could be. [Taking] old things and turning them into something that's useful and practical," said Mike.

Mike's wife Ruth Ann says she is more than happy to bring old memories to life with their creations.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board approved spending nearly $8,000 on a study for the public fishing pier on Highway 51 in Minocqua.

The findings will help board members decide whether to replace the entire bridge or just repair parts of it.

Public Works Director Mark Pertile says the exact age of the pier is unknown but he guesses it's around 100 years old.

"When you look underneath you'll see some of the problem areas. Some of the things we check are the railings to make sure they are stable. But the wood [is starting to] rot," explained Pertile.

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.

Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.

+ Read More
+ More Local News
Search: 








Click Here