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Mother: Daughter Suspended From Middle School For Wearing Confederate Flag Sweatshirt

EAST WINDSOR, N.J. (CBS) — Fourteen-year-old Torri Albrecht’s confederate flag sweatshirt has special meaning to her.

“Southern pride, I’m proud of where I come from,” Torri explained.

“It’s heritage, not hate, Torri’s from the south,” her mom Jane West said.

West says the sweatshirt is the reason Torri is home in East Windsor instead of in 8th grade classes at Kreps Middle School in Hightstown. After wearing the sweatshirt to school on Monday, November 7th and the week prior, Torri says the vice principal told her she had to take it off.

“They said it was inappropriate and people were offended,” Torri said.

Torri’s mom says the vice principal called her shortly after school started.

“He said if I didn’t bring her a change of clothes, she’ll suffer the consequences, she’ll be suspended,” Jane explained.

In a statement, school district superintendent Dr. Edward Forst-Hoffer said: “No student was suspended for wearing an inappropriate shirt. We cannot comment on why the student was suspended because of confidentiality policies.”

Torri’s suspension notice refers to her wearing an inappropriate shirt, refusing to remove or turn it inside out. It also says she used foul language.

“I just said I wasn’t going to take it off. They said I was being disrespectful, but I wasn’t,” Torri said.

The dress code requires students to dress in attire that doesn’t distract from the educational process. Torri says none of her friends were bothered.

“By doing this, they put my daughter out there and portrayed her as someone who may be racist, and now she’s getting death threats,” Jane said.

Torri says now that people know where she lives, ‘it’s kind of scary.’

Jane says the school called her Tuesday and told her Torri is welcome back at school and can wear her sweatshirt.

The school principal, Lori Stein, confirmed this for Eyewitness News. However, when we asked why was she now allowed to wear the sweatshirt, she wouldn’t give any further information.

Jane wants an apology, the suspension rescinded and her daughter transferred. She is also considering a lawsuit against the school district.

Reported by Robin Rieger, CBS 3

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  • craig

    Oh the Damynkees and their stupid rules based on Aversions.The civil war was the scotch-irish VS.the anglo-saxons.the arrogant British supported the Union and the stinkin’ French supported the confederacy.In order for each to establish new colonies in the Americas.Go ahead debate that.

  • noname

    it irks one portion of the community just like the sports wear with X on it and FUBU irks the other. however, no one dare send anyone home over wearing X or FUBU, does anyone know of any instances like that? I think if the child was ignored by the adults in the school the kids wouldn’t of really paid any mind to it. All schools should go to using uniforms – they are more conducive to learning and then you won’t have to deal with anyone’s attitudes, prejudices or a ** hangin out of their jeans.

  • Amber R.

    I don’t understand the problem. All parents should condone kids wearing symbols of oppression and racism. Freedom of speech etc..etc…

  • Jim Wilmer

    In a Jersey town 140 years ago, it would have been unsafe to wear a confederate symbol or flag. The Confedersy was another nation. It took over 500,000 lives and atrocities in both countries POW camps. These memories were all too fresh; to wear such a brash statement.

  • Kenneth Aston

    Freedom of speech! If there is something written in the student handbook in reference to offensive t-shirts then great, don’t wear it to school. If not she has every right to wear it. We need to stop making every damn thing in this country OFFENSIVE! America is based on FREEDOM! Yea I am an African American as well

    • Another Jean

      Why must she wear the shirt to school? Would you condone someone wearing a shirt with swastikas on it, or perhaps one that made fun of people with a disability? Being free doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s okay to be rude and inconsiderate to those around you.

  • Brian

    The fact that the mother is considering a lawsuit shows it isn’t the kid’s fault – she can’t help being raised by an ignorant idiot. As for teaching the kid what the flag means, that is the parents’ responsibility. If you’re so proud of your southern heritage, why are you in New Jersey?? People that still think the confederate flag is a source of pride need to check the scoreboard, your team lost – and with good reason.

  • Monique Mitchell

    Not only that, but teach her and the school the meaning behind the flag. Don’t just deny her without giving her a clear explanation. My parents denied me when I wanted to wear my James Brown t-shirt “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” my parents would not allow me to wear it. But now TEACH them WHY, first before you deny them.

  • Another Jean

    The Confederacy was based on slavery, and that IS offensive.

    • Made in the South

      The Confederacy was NOT based on slavery, that’s how it made the majority of its money. And Northerners owned slaves as well, that part just rarely makes it into the history books. And that particular flag was not the flag of the Confederacy, it was the battle flag that the soldiers took into battle. And, I am an African-American history major. Maybe if we studied history for ourselves instead of taking others’ word for it, this country would be better off

      • Anonymous

        Let me guess: You studied your African American History from books written by White people.

      • Another Jean

        True, but were Northerners willing to secede from the Union in order to keep holding slaves?

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