Controversies stir during schools' spirit week

- Students at Manatee High School put a hold on protests Friday following a controversial school spirit week.

On Wednesday, a student brought a confederate flag with "Trump 2016" written on it to Manatee High School for National Pride Day.

Some students were offended by the flag and racial slurs said by students who took pictures with it.

"It was upsetting to me, because I heard the stuff that people were saying that had the flag with them. They were talking to other people, talking about, 'Oh, we forgot to bring the chains with us,' and that was a very hateful and discriminating comment," said sophomore Patient Mapps.

The flag was confiscated by school administrators, but no students were punished. The following day in Pasco County, three students at Wiregrass Ranch High School were disciplined for dressing as Klansmen for Character Day of Spirit Week.

Thursday morning at school - and again Thursday evening, off school grounds - several students at Manatee High gathered to protest the flag by wearing all black in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

"At first, I was mad because I'm half [black], so I kind of reacted how other people reacted," said freshman Destiny Wade.

Prior to Friday's homecoming football game, a robocall was sent to students and parents from Manatee County Superintendent Dianna Green.

Students were warned that any disruptions Friday could jeopardize the homecoming game, homecoming dance and other homecoming related activities.

"If we wanted to express ourselves, we shouldn't get disciplined for it," said Mapps.

While students held off on protesting at Friday's homecoming game, according to a Facebook page called "Stand with Manatee Students #BlackLivesMatter," another protest is planned for Sunday at the Bradenton Riverwalk at 1 p.m.

More than 100 students have confirmed they plan to attend.

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