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Confederate flag found at Md. high school, sparking investigation

The flag was found hanging from a flagpole outside La Plata High School on Thursday morning, authorities said

Officials from Charles County Public Schools said the flag-raising was an “isolated incident” that “does not reflect the values and beliefs of the school system,” according to a statement. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
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Officials in Charles County said they are investigating after a Confederate flag was raised outside La Plata High School late last week.

A preliminary investigation by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office indicates that several individuals arrived on the school’s campus Wednesday around 11:50 p.m., at which time the individuals are believed to have placed a Confederate flag on the pole and raised it. Members of the school’s JROTC found the flag Thursday morning, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

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Detectives said at least two individuals may have been involved in the incident. The office on Friday released surveillance camera photos and said authorities are trying to identify the people who appear in the pictures. Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Sunday that there have not been any updates and that officials are still investigating. Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s office.

Officials from Charles County Public Schools said the flag-raising was an “isolated incident” that “does not reflect the values and beliefs of the school system,” according to a statement released Thursday. Maria Navarro, superintendent of the system of more than 26,000 students, called the events “disturbing.”

“This incident will serve as a teachable moment,” Navarro said. “It must teach our children and ourselves that we as a school system and as a community will not tolerate symbols of hate, and we won’t allow hate to gain a foothold in our school system.”

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The incident in Southern Maryland came days after a White man, who authorities believe to be a white supremacist, allegedly shot and killed 10 people at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo.

Community organizations, including Maryland’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in recent days have denounced the events. “We condemn this attempt to intimidate students of color at La Plata High School and we stand in solidarity with the community against white supremacy and all other forms of bigotry,” Zainab Chaudry, the organization’s Maryland director, said in a statement.

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