Activist arrested for removal of State House Confederate flag ba - FOX Carolina 21

Activist arrested for removal of State House Confederate flag barred from speaking at NC middle school

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Bree Newsome. (Source: Associated Press). Bree Newsome. (Source: Associated Press).
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Activist Bree Newsome will not be allowed to speak to Asheville Middle School students, according to a statement from the district.

In 2015, Newsome was arrested after she pulled down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House. 

In a statement, Asheville City Schools said letting Newsome speak violates school board policy. A representative with Asheville City Schools said, "The policy states that the advocacy of illegal acts by a speaker is not permitted."

The school representative stated that Asheville Middle School and Americans Who Tell the Truth were working on a collaboration in which Margot Lee Shetterly, author of "Hidden Figures," would speak to eighth graders. 

According to the representative, Shetterly canceled and Americans Who Tell the Truth invited Newsome as the speaker instead. Asheville City Schools declined to have Newsome as the replacement speaker, the statement said. 

Newsome will speak on the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College campus on Friday and at the Young Men's Institute on Saturday. 

On Thursday, Asheville City Schools and the Board of Education released the following statement on the situation:

Two events within the last week have reminded us how important the community is to our schools and how important the schools are to our community. 

Last week, the principal of Asheville Middle School was unable to allow a guest speaker's offer to meet with 8th grade students. The principal made that decision based on the curriculum activities previously planned and a review of the policy again. We were later informed that the original speaker could not attend and another speaker would instead be available. After reviewing the policy again, we determined that the new speaker did not align with our policy currently in place.   

 Aided by social media, the community’s response was swift. By the day of our School Board Meeting this week, the administration and board members were hearing about the community concerns.  

In an ideal world, that issue of the guest speaker would have been the only news to rally our community this week. In an ideal world, within this past week we could have deliberated on the topic, and either reaffirmed the decision and the interpretations of policy, or revisited the decision and extended an invitation to reschedule with Bree Newsome during her visit to Asheville. 

The statement went on to address the tragic deaths of an Asheville Middle School student, an Asheville Catholic School student, and the serious injury of a SILSA student - all three of whom are the children of a beloved Asheville Middle School teacher.  

It concluded with a promise to take a closer look at school policies.

"We will be revisiting the policies regarding the actions and message of guest speakers on an upcoming board agenda for board review," said district and Board of Education officials said in the statement. "The public notices will be sent out so the community can participate."

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