Arkansas: Mauch Under Fire for Slavery Defense

A Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives has a history of writing in support of slavery and the Confederacy, along with comparing Abraham Lincoln to Karl Marx.

State Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck) wrote a series of letters to the editor of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, defending slavery and attacking Lincoln, the Arkansas Times reports.

The revelations about Mauch’s letters come days after it was reported that state Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro) wrote that slavery “may have been a blessing” in a 2010 book.

The Arkansas Republican Party has condemned Hubbard’s comments, along with comments by Republican legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua, who advocated expelling Muslims from the United States.

Mauch, a first term legislator, wrote the letters starting in 2000. He has called Lincoln a “fake neurotic Northern war criminal” and said the 16th president committed “premeditated murder” on the Constitution. He called Lincoln and Civil War generals “Wehrmacht leaders” — the name for the armed forces in Nazi Germany. He also praised his ancestors for standing up to “Northern aggression” and said the Confederate flag is “a symbol of Christian liberty vs. the new world order.”

In two letters, Mauch wrote about the Bible and slavery. The Arkansas Times quotes from a letter Mauch write in 2009:

If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?

In 2010,  it was reported that Mauch was a member of the Sons of Confederates Veterans and the League of the South, which has been described as a “neo-Confederacy” group advocating for second southern secession. Mauch was also reported to have chaired the western Arkansas chapter of the League of the South, which he downplayed as an honorary title. He also helped organize a 2004 conference calling for the removal of an Abraham Lincoln statue in Hot Springs, which included a keynote speech entitled “Homage to John Wilkes Booth.”

Mauch is retired from AT&T and says  his hobbies include hunting, fishing, reading history and writing. He is currently vice chairman of the Children and Youth Subcommittee. On his campaign website he cites bills he’s written on sewer, water and education issues.

— John Celock, Huffington Post


South Carolina: Voter ID Law Upheld, with Safeguards

The Associated Press, McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — A federal court Wednesday unanimously upheld South Carolina’s voter ID law, overturning its rejection by the U.S. Justice Department.

The federal panel found the law was not discriminatory because of the safeguards in it.

But the three judges said their ruling comes too late for the law to be applied in next month’s elections and directed S.C. election officials to wait until next year before using it.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who signed the voter ID measure into law in 2011, praised the ruling as a victory. “Every time the federal government has thrown us a punch, we have fought back,” Haley said in a statement. “This win is not just for South Carolina, this is a win for our country.”

In their ruling, the three judges said repeatedly that the new law – as state officials propose to enact it – does not require voters to have a photo ID.

“(The law) allows citizens with non-photo voter registration cards to still vote without a photo ID so long as they state the reason for not having obtained one,” the judges wrote.

Among the acceptable reasons for not having a photo ID are having to work, being unemployed and looking for a job, lacking transportation to a state office, the cost of that travel, child or family issues, lacking a birth certificate, disability or illness, a religious objection or being “busy with my charitable work,” the judges wrote.

“Any reason asserted by the voter … for not having a photo ID must be accepted,” unless false, and the voter’s “ballot counted.”

The unanimous ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was a rebuke of Attorney General Eric Holder, who in December blocked the state law after finding that it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, saying it discriminated against black voters.

But Justice Department officials Wednesday pointed to the judges’ opinion that the law had been upheld only because state officials, during a contentious weeklong federal trial in August, vowed to enact it more leniently than it is written.

“The court’s pre-clearance of the law for future elections is expressly conditioned on South Carolina’s binding promise that all qualified voters without photo ID will still be allowed to vote without additional burden,” Dena Iverson, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“If the law — as modified by South Carolina during the course of the trial — takes effect for future elections, the attorney general intends to monitor its implementation closely to ensure compliance with the court’s order,” Iverson said.

The ruling runs counter to an Aug. 30 decision by a different three-judge panel on the same federal bench. That panel rejected Texas’ voter ID law, similar to the S.C. law in broad outline but with some key differences.

It was those differences the judges focused on in ratifying the S.C. law, which the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly passed over the objections of African-American legislators.

The three judges said the South Carolina law’s “expansive reasonable impediment provision” — which the Texas law does not have — and state officials’ vow to interpret that provision liberally will enable voters to cast ballots even if they don’t possess one of the five types of photo IDs required by the law.

Under the clause, voters can sign an affidavit citing a “reasonable impediment” to having obtained a photo ID and cast a provisional ballot, which must be counted unless the reason given is untruthful.

The NAACP, among several civil and voting rights groups that intervened in the case against the S.C. law, portrayed the ruling as a “partial victory” because it blocks the law from being used next month, when President Barack Obama will seek re-election.

“As we celebrate this small victory, we still must understand that the law, as written, has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of voters in future elections,” Jotaka Eaddy, head of the NAACP’s voting rights initiative, said in a statement.

The three judges who ruled on the South Carolina law included two appointees of Republican President George W. Bush and one appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton. The Clinton appointee, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in addition to joining the majority ruling, wrote a separate concurring opinion explaining her support for the law.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson hailed the ruling as a vindication of Republican state legislators, whom the law’s foes accused of promoting the legislation in order to suppress the votes of African-Americans in South Carolina.

“The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise,” Wilson said. “They ensure integrity at the ballot box.”

In a dig at Obama administration civil rights lawyers, Wilson added: “This ruling also affirms South Carolina’s voter ID law should have been pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department.”

But one of the two Bush appointees who joined Wednesday’s ruling, Judge John Bates, defended Holder’s original decision to reject the law, noting state election officials had modified it substantially during the subsequent federal trial.

“It is understandable that the attorney general of the United States, and then the intervenor-defendants in this case, would raise serious concerns about South Carolina’s voter photo ID law as it then stood,” Bates wrote in a separate concurring opinion.

Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party, expressed disappointment with the decision.

“The South Carolina Democratic Party strongly disagrees with the court’s opinion and is hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will resolve the differences between the various voter ID cases around the country,” Harpootlian said in a statement.

The ruling follows a string of recent voter law decisions.

In Pennsylvania, a judge blocked that state from enforcing its voter ID law next month, saying voters would have trouble getting IDs before elections. A federal appeals court forced Ohio to reinstate three early voting days leading up to the November elections. And in Mississippi, state officials announced they could not enforce photo ID requirements for this year’s elections after the Justice Department asked for more details on the law.

Courts also have blocked voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas. Texas has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, and the civil rights and voting groups that oppose the S.C. law may do the same.

Such laws became priority issues in mostly Republican legislatures and for governors after the 2008 elections. Opponents have described them as responses to the record turnouts of minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that helped put Barack Obama, the first African-American president, in the White House.

Debate over the laws has intensified in part because of the tight presidential race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Supporters have pitched these laws as necessary to deter voter fraud, even if very few cases of voter impersonation have been found, and to build public confidence in elections.


The War Goes to College

By Michael David Cohen, University of Tennessee

On Oct. 6, 1862, the faculty of South Carolina College, located in the state capital of Columbia, gathered for a meeting. They had nothing to discuss regarding the curriculum or student discipline. Instead, they met to acknowledge officially a simple fact: the college was closed. Over the summer, they recorded in their minutes, the Confederacy had converted the school into a military hospital. The students were all gone and no classes would meet again for several years. South Carolina College, like colleges across America and especially in the South, had been turned to serve the needs of the Civil War.

South Carolina College president Augustus B. Longstreet.

A year and a half earlier, the campus had buzzed with excitement. South Carolina College’s students, upset after Abraham Lincoln’s election as United States president in November 1860, celebrated the birth of the Confederacy in February 1861. The next month they formed a drill company called the College Cadets; the governor, Francis W. Pickens, even gave them muskets from the state arsenal. The Civil War, however, had not actually started yet. Absent a battle to fight, the students marched around Columbia, enjoying the townspeople’s attention, but stayed in class otherwise.

Soon enough, though, the students heard that Lincoln, now in office, intended to resupply Fort Sumter. Angered by what they considered an invasion of their state by a foreign government, they decided to march to Charleston and help defend the harbor. Mindful of their academic commitments, they sought permission before leaving campus. So they turned to the college’s president, Augustus B. Longstreet.

President Longstreet was a devoted Confederate. A seasoned politician, minister, planter and educator, he had promoted states’ rights and slavery long before 1860. He was a political mentor to his nephew, the future Confederate general James Longstreet, and the politics that permeated his lectures helped make his students enthusiastic devotees of the Southern cause.

But President Longstreet was also a cautious man. He believed South Carolina to be right in leaving the Union, but worried that hasty action could doom its prospects. In January 1861 he surveyed South Carolinians’ reactions to a rumor that President James Buchanan, who would not leave office until March, would send a naval ship to Charleston to collect taxes owed to the federal government. Most people in the state advocated firing on the ship. Longstreet, in a pamphlet, declared that “the most dangerous, useless, ill-advised measure” imaginable. Firing on a ship of the United States Navy would make South Carolina the aggressor; the North would unite against it and the rest of the South would shrink away from it. Take your time, he implored his compatriots. First secure allies, then prepare for war.

This was the man whom the college students asked for permission to go start a war. In April, someone as perceptive as Longstreet probably knew that war was imminent. The rumor about Buchanan’s sending a ship had proved false, but soon after taking office Lincoln had dispatched one to resupply the Union-held fortress outside Charleston. Still, Longstreet’s caution — or perhaps merely his desire to keep students in class — won out. He denied the request.

Most of the students left anyway.

The students’ departure did not close the college, but it started the decline. Governor Pickens accepted their temporary enlistment and they participated in the bloodless attack on Fort Sumter. From then on they kept coming and going: they returned in the spring, left in the summer to fight in Virginia, returned in the fall, and left in November to defend Port Royal, S.C. By then they had stopped asking permission to go. When they returned to campus in January 1862, their numbers had dwindled to 72, only half the prewar enrollment.

The worst blow came on March 8, 1862, when Governor Pickens ordered a draft. Covering men ages 18 to 45 and not exempting students, it applied to nearly every student at South Carolina College. Anxious to avoid the opprobrium of conscription, all but three or four volunteered; not even those few showed up for class the next day. The faculty tried advertising for students, but found only nine. They finished the semester with that minuscule class.

The Confederate government dealt the final blow that summer by asking the faculty chairman to turn over the campus for use as a military hospital. When he refused, the government appealed to the trustees. When they refused, it asked the governor. Pickens, who by this point was probably already unpopular among the faculty due to his repeated enlistment of their students, granted the request. By the time of the professors’ Oct. 6 meeting, the last few students had been replaced by doctors and wounded soldiers.

South Carolina College was not alone. Young men across the country enlisted in the armies, draining colleges of their students. And over the course of the war, the Confederacy converted many public or semipublic buildings into hospitals, including courthouses, hotels and factories as well as colleges. Even Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg briefly saw service as a Confederate hospital during the nearby battle in July 1863. (On the other hand, some colleges managed to avoid takeovers: in a surprising show of strength, Wesleyan Female College in Georgia resisted a Confederate attempt to make it a hospital, despite the government’s threat to take it by force.)

The Union commandeered colleges, too. Columbian College (now George Washington University) in Washington became both barracks and a pair of hospitals. The University of Missouri served as barracks, hospital, prison and stables. Corona Female College in Corinth, Miss., was used first as a Confederate hospital, then as a Union one after Gen. Henry W. Halleck’s forces took Corinth in May 1862. The Northerners left in 1864, but burned the college on their way out. Corona, never rebuilt, became a casualty of war.

South Carolina College was more fortunate. When Union troops entered Columbia in February 1865, they and retreating Confederates burned many of the city’s buildings — but not the college’s. Its use as a hospital, whose patients by then included some Union soldiers, probably saved it. The new regime made the campus the headquarters for the commandant of Columbia.

The college reopened in January 1866. Under a new name, the University of South Carolina even expanded its course offerings to include vocational studies as well as the traditional liberal arts. A few years later, controlled by a Republican legislature, the state university admitted recently emancipated African-Americans — and, in its new normal school, women — for the first time (a Democratic legislature expelled African-Americans and closed the coeducational normal school in 1877). The war, though over, had left change in its wake.

The rest of the nation’s colleges, if not destroyed like Corona, also resumed their educational work after the Civil War. They, too, made changes. Some followed South Carolina’s course and opened their rolls to women and blacks. Many had to repair damaged buildings. Others — including Columbian College, whose medical school had succumbed to fire — had to purchase or build new facilities. Many developed new curriculums and admitted veterans trying to re-enter civilian society. The war had interrupted colleges’ work for four years. Now, those colleges adapted to serve a nation changed by war.


Texas: After 150 Years, a Dark Chapter

By Steve Campbell, the (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram

GAINESVILLE — Rand McNally recently named this North Texas town America’s Most Patriotic City, but that red, white and blue slogan has collided with a grisly episode from 150 years ago: the Great Hanging of 1862, when vigilantes hanged 40 Union sympathizers and shot two more who tried to escape.

L.D. Clark, 89, holds a print depicting the Great Hanging of 1862. His great-grandfather was among those killed.

The Civil War incident that pitted neighbors against neighbors in a paroxysm of suspicion and retaliation remains a touchy subject here, particularly for families whose ancestors were strung up from an elm tree not far from the courthouse.

They say the city of 16,000 has always tried to duck the dark episode that at the time sparked outrage in the North and drew applause across the South.

“People damn well try to whitewash it,” said 89-year-old L.D. Clark, a retired English professor whose great-grandfather Nathaniel M. Clark was hanged on Oct. 13, 1862, leaving behind a wife and seven children, including a son in the Rebel army.

Mayor Jim Goldsworthy says Gainesville isn’t “running away from the horrible event.”

The city would rather “hang our moniker on being the most patriotic town in America and drive our tourism that way.”

The latest contretemps flared when a local museum planning an Oct. 12-13 event to mark the 150th anniversary put up a billboard in late August off Interstate 35 promoting it as “October’s Reign of Terror, Commemorating the Great Hanging of 1862.”

It quickly came down when Cooke County Heritage Society directors bailed on the event after Mayor Pro Tem Ray Nichols voiced his disapproval with the “sensational” marketing to the director of the Morton Museum, which the society manages.

“We received some information that intimidated the executive board, and we decided to cancel,” said Steve Gordon, a retired engineer and former president of the society who organized the event. “We got scared because the city gives the museum money. I’m very bitter about it. Gainesville has been hiding from the Great Hanging since it happened.”

Nichols, a retired banker, said he wasn’t acting in his official capacity but as a private individual and contributor to the museum who felt the billboard “put the city in a bad light.”

He also didn’t appreciate that the event was scheduled on the weekend of the city’s Depot Days, an annual celebration of the area’s railroad history.

“Gainesville was voted most patriotic city in America this year, and we are very excited about it and our Medal of Honor Host City program. I think those are important. That other thing? I don’t think that’s important to anybody,” he said.

Don’t tell that to Colleen Carri, Clark’s niece and a heritage society board member who decided to keep the commemoration alive by pairing it with the annual Clark family reunion Oct. 13.

Carri expects 220 attendees, including descendants of six other hanging victims, at the event called Remembering Our Past, Embracing Our Future.

With cities across the country commemorating Civil War anniversaries, she said, Gainesville is missing out.

“I don’t get their mentality except they are afraid it’s going to tarnish this most patriotic thing. They didn’t know how to spin it; they didn’t know what to do with it.”

But this might be one where spin couldn’t win.

“Having a celebration of a time when they hanged people being loyal to the United States would not go well with the most patriotic town label,” said University of North Texas professor Richard B. McCaslin, one of the event’s speakers and the author of Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas 1862.

The Rebel line

There’s another skirmish line on this old battlefront, and it is cloaked in gray.

Some North Texans with the Sons of Confederate Veterans believe the Unionists were traitors, and they’ve produced a movie to tell the “complete history” based on two controversial accounts by men involved in the hangings.

David Moore of Weatherford has two ancestors who were ringleaders of the Unionists — Henry Childs, a doctor, and his brother, Ephraim, who were the first to be hanged.

“If I was living back then and I knew what those brothers did, I would have hung them, too. It was treason,” said Moore, the director of Black October 1862, which will be screened Oct. 13 at the Masonic Lodge in Gainesville.

“Were there innocent people hung? Yes. We’re saying there is more to it than what has been presented in the literature out there,” Moore said.

Most people only know the victims’ stories, said Joe White of Gainesville, the First Lieutenant Commander of the Lee-Bourland Camp 1848 of the SCV. (Col. James Bourland, a “good fighter and good hater,” led the troops that rounded up the Unionists.)

“It was the Confederate States of America. They were under military law,” White said. “If you have people feeding information to the enemy, what are they?”

Monumental divide

The lingering schism between Gainesville’s link to the Confederacy and the mass hanging is “strikingly illustrated” by two monuments, McCaslin said.

On the front lawn of the Cooke County Courthouse, a monolith topped with a Rebel soldier stands watch over the square.

Part of the 1911 monument’s flowery inscription reads “no nation rose so white and fair none fell so pure of crime,” which makes Clark grimace.

“So pure of crime?” growls Clark, who 30 minutes before had read an inscription on his great-grandfather’s grave at the Clark Cemetery that said he was “Murdered by a Mob.”

A few blocks away, the town’s lone marker for the Great Hanging stands forlornly among piles of construction debris from a flood control project.

“What’s fascinating is that this account on this marker is the only evidence of the Great Hanging in Cooke County. There’s not a marker with any of the victims’ names on it,” Carri said.

Goldsworthy says the site will be restored when the construction is done.

The marker was once located across I-35 “as far away as you could get from the town center,” said McCaslin, who added that now-deceased former Mayor Margaret Hayes pushed for a Great Hanging park and got the monument moved.

“She saw it as a tourism possibility. People like that sort of ghoulish stuff,” he said. “Some places have turned their dark days into big tourist attractions, like the Salem witch trials in New England. They’ve managed to flip it over. Maybe we’re not far enough away yet.”

“A pressure cooker”

In 1862, Cooke County was a remote outpost of the Confederacy. Only 10 percent of the households had slaves, and it had voted 2-to-1 against secession while Texas as a whole was 3-to-1 in favor of it.

Located just south of the Red River, Gainesville was a frontier town beset by threats. Just north was Indian Territory. Deserters and outlaws roamed the border lands. To the west, Comanche Indians ruled.

“These people were living in a pressure cooker,” McCaslin said.

When the war started in 1861, many Union supporters volunteered for frontier guard units in hope of avoiding fighting in the East. But the Confederate Conscription Act of April 1862 changed everything, McCaslin said.

A loose affiliation of men formed a secretive Union League with a primary aim of avoiding the draft, he said.

But rumors were soon rampant that the group had grown to 1,700 and had John Brown-style plans to storm militia arsenals in Gainesville and Sherman and then aid an invasion.

Bourland’s troops arrested more than 150 men on Oct. 1, and Confederate Col. William C. Young formed a citizen’s court of 12 jurors of mostly slaveholders. Seven Unionist leaders were hanged, and then a mob lynched 14 more, McCaslin said.

The rest of the suspects were to be released, but “the real killing started” the next week after unknown assailants murdered Young and another man, he said.

Nineteen more men were then convicted and hanged. Over the course of the day, two prisoners at a time were hanged from the back of a wagon.

But Gainesville wasn’t alone in its fear and retaliation. In Decatur, five Unionist suspects were hanged, and a prisoner was shot in Denton. Earlier, in August, 19 Unionist German settlers fleeing from the Hill Country to Mexico had been killed in the Battle of Nueces, and nine prisoners were executed.

Neighbors torn apart

McCaslin has never found evidence of communication between people in North Texas and Union authorities.

“I think it was just talk. That infuriates some people; they want me to tell them these were horrible traitors that deserved to be killed. But traitors to what? They were actually loyal to the country they had been raised in all their lives.”

What remains most fascinating for McCaslin is how quickly neighbors turned on one another.

“But it is not the first time and it’s not the last time. We see it today. Under pressure people can do very unreasonable things.

“When you bring something like this to light, smelling to high heaven, it undermines the idea of a united South. To me, it makes it a more human story because we always divide. It’s what we do; it’s what we are. It’s the nature of a democracy. Sometimes we handle it well, and sometimes we don’t handle it well at all.

“That upsets people; they don’t want to hear that Great-Great-Grandpa made a mistake.”


Hays Student Gets Boot for Confederate Flag Sticker

By Kim Hilsenbeck, Hays Free Press

The issue of the Confederate flag at Hays High School is still waving. Or, in this case, sticking.

Last week Misty Meyer of Buda said her daughter M’Kayla, 17, was told by Assistant Principal Damon Adams that the sticker on her car was prohibited on campus because it has a Confederate flag on it.

The sticker, located in the car’s rear window, says, “Rebel Cheerleader.” Underneath the words is the image of the Rebel flag.

Hays Rebel cheerleader M’Kayla Meyer had her car booted in the Hays High parking lot after she was told by her assistant principal that she could not display a car sticker that had the image of the Confederate flag. (Photos by Misty Meyer) Read more at the Hays Free Press

“She’s been driving that car to school, with that same sticker, for two years,” Meyer said. “I bought it four years ago from a mom who sold them to students in various activities.”

Meyer said she has not heard of any other students being asked to remove stickers from vehicles at the school. However, she said she heard a story about football players who used shoe polish to paint the Rebel flag on their car and truck windows.

“They were taken out of class to wash off the flags,” Meyer said.

While she realizes the Confederate flag means different things to different people, Meyer views it as part of history. She said M’Kayla viewed the sticker as school spirit and she was mostly clueless about its significance in terms of the imagery of racism the flag evokes for some people.

“They are the Rebel cheerleaders,” Meyer said. “Just like the sticker says.”

Adams gave M’Kayla three options: remove the sticker, switch the parking permit to another vehicle or don’t bring the car to school.

The next day M’Kayla drove the car to campus.

Meyer, who works near the school, drove by that day and saw a bright yellow boot on her daughter’s wheel in the school parking lot. Upset, she pulled in and went inside to speak with Adams.

“I told him, ‘I want to see a written policy that she is violating. Where is that written?’” Meyer said. “He could not produce anything.”

According to Meyer, Adams referred her to the school’s dress code which states, in part, “The district prohibits the wearing of pictures, emblems, or writings that are lewd, offensive, vulgar, obscene, or imply negative connotations, or related to gang activities or that advertise or depict tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or any other substance prohibited under policy [FNCF (LEGAL)] [FNCA (LOCAL)].”

Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy said in an email, “The rebel flag associated with ‘cheer’ had an implied endorsement of the flag associated with the student group of cheerleaders. The campus and district do not allow the use of the Confederate flag in any official association with the school.”

The current enforcement of wearing the flag on personal apparel or on cars does not appear consistent with the district’s policy created in 2000.

Through an open records request, theHays Free Pressreviewed minutes from a Hays CISD board meeting in July 2000 under the agenda item “Use of the Confederate Flag.”

A vote was taken on the following motion, “For Hays CISD to begin to immediately phase out the Confederate battle flag or any likeness of the flag from school funded property or any uniform group, but do not ban the flag from student personal property to include, but not limited to, student apparel, cars, personal signs at sporting events, etc.”

The motion passed 6-1.

Savoy said in a written statement, “The need for clarification is one of the findings of the independent investigation into last May’s incident [where racial slurs and damage were done by two freshmen boys to a black teacher’s classroom door]. The Board has charged the administration with providing clarification.”

That clarification, Savoy said, would help parents better understand the rules. Yet Meyer questions how the district can take action, such as what happened with her daughter, without having the clarification in place.

The district’s statement continued, “Courts (including Texas courts) have sided with school districts, in regards to placing limitations on student’s freedom of expression rights involving the display of the Confederate flag on personal property, where there has been a history of racial tension or race-related incidents that led school officials to conclude that permitting display of the flag could reasonably be expected to lead to substantial disruptions at school.”

Meyer said the only disruption was her daughter’s day when the assistant principal pulled her out of the cafeteria to deal with the sticker on her car in the parking lot.

“Given this history of the Confederate flag in our district, its display at Hays High School has been determined to be divisive and controversial,” Savoy said. “It has been the decision of school leadership and the practice at Hays High School since 2009 not to allow the display of the Confederate flag. The principal has the authority to make those decisions at his or her campus.”

Principal David Pierce started at Hays High in 2009.

Meyer said she pays $100 a year for her daughter’s parking permit on the Hays High campus.

“That’s our car. We paid for it. We paid for the parking permit,” Meyer said.

Meyer said she takes issue with the district telling her daughter, or anyone, what they can and can’t put on their personal vehicles.

“Where does their power end?” Meyer asked. “It’s getting ridiculous.”

Meyer said the school could not produce the rule M’Kayla violated.

“The rule is written nowhere,” Meyer said. “It should be written where every single parent can see it.”

Meyer said she asked Adams who the sticker is offending. She quotes him as saying, “To tell the truth, it offends me.”

Meyer said the assistant principal then told her that he would write an amendment to the policy book right then and there.

Hays CISD administrators are working to address the issue with a policy that clarifies the district’s position.

Savoy said the clarification, which is expected to be ready sometime this week, “will explain the history and the action and make specific references to what happened when. We are just putting all of those pieces together and double checking with our attorneys to make sure we are in compliance with the First Amendment, policy, and other laws, etc.”

In the end, Adams agreed to remove the boot from M’Kayla’s car at no charge. M’Kayla and her family decided they will not remove the sticker, but she is no longer driving the vehicle to campus.

Meyer said she wonders about the significance of this issue and the school’s decision to remove Confederate flag stickers from students’ personal cars.

An acquaintance told Meyer she should call her Hays CISD Board of Trustees representative to talk about the incident and potentially discuss the policy at the upcoming regular board meeting.

But Meyer hesitates because she said there are so many other issues going on at the school that deserve the board’s attention.

“Is this that important?” Meyer asked.

Savoy confirmed this issue will not be on the board’s October regular meeting agenda.

Changing the Rules

As a result of the September board of trustees meeting, Hays CISD officials developed a process for improving clarity of rules regarding student freedom of expression. They released the details of the process on Oct. 8.

From now until Nov. 2, David Pierce, Hays High School principal, along with other administrators will confer and gather information, including consultation and input by student leaders at Hays and Lehman high schools, and address the following charge:

“Formulate recommendations for district rules regarding student display of the confederate flag, or other
offensive, intolerant, or 
racially hostile imagery, on personal property.”

The draft recommendations will have a first reading at the Nov. 12 board meeting; those draft recommendations will be available to the public prior to the meeting. People who wish to speak on the issue may sign up to speak at any board meeting. Hays CISD reminds the public that this item is not on the October, 2012 agenda for discussion or action.

A second reading and action by the board will take place at the Dec. 17 regular board meeting.

According to the Hays CISD statement, the process for clarifying district rules regarding the display of the Confederate flag on student personal property does not include addressing the issues of the Hays High School fight song or mascot.


Virginia: Civil War Soldiers Never Left Stone House

By Stephanie Tipple,

MANASSAS, Va. When you hear about the Civil War you’ll often hear about the massive death toll, the carnage and the name of famous sites like Gettysburg, Pa.

But for those living in the Potomac Communities who want a taste of Civil War history, look no further than Manassas Battlefield National Park.

Photo: Manassas Battlefield today.

This theatre of war 25 minutes west of Woodbridge was site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas, and between 1861 and 1862 it was a launching point for the careers of several noted Civil War figures including Stonewall Jackson, Sherman and Custer.

And while this may have been the place of career-making battles, it was also the site of the death and wounds of more than 21,000 soldiers.

And according to several visitors and people involved with the Manassas Battlefield – some of these soldiers never left. Many people claim that they’ve seen ghostly spirits walking the grounds, and that they’ve heard sounds that mimic the sounds of gunshots.

“Of the structures themselves, the one that probably has the greatest association with ghost stories is the stone house. That big stone house was here at the time of the First and Second Manassas battles, it was used as a field station and it had all of the horrors associated with medicine in the Civil War era, particularly in the war. It was very ill thought out and ill prepared to handle the types and numbers of wounds that soldiers suffered, so obviously there would have been amputations and worse at this aid station,” said National Park Service supervisor Ed Clark.

In this stone house, on the second floor, there is also a Civil War story that is tied in with the home, as two gravely injured soldiers carved their names into the floorboards.

Manassas Battlefield in 1862.

The names are still visible in the floor of the house today.

While the Park Service has not yet been able to find a piece of irrefutable evidence of the ghostly encounters on the Battlefield, there are still several signs that the soldiers of First and Second Manassas have no intention of being forgotten.

“We often joke here at the Battlefield; we call it the ‘Vortex of Manassas’. Anytime something goes wrong, we find it going wrong in an extraordinary fashion and a grand example of that is our 150th anniversary last year. And the four days of our events were the four hottest days on record on the East Coast,” Clark said.