Students at Hastings High School have submitted a petition with 304 signatures asking to be allowed to display the Confederate battle flag on school grounds.
A small group of students initiated display of the flag, which they did not understand to be widely perceived as a symbol of racial hatred.
The district requested that the students not display the flag on school grounds due to concerns from the community, and according to Hastings Area School superintendent Carrie Duits, students have respected the district's request.
However, following a contentious school board meeting last Monday, the district received the petition. Duits says the conflict has been an important teachable moment for the students.
"We listened carefully to the students who submitted a petition. We are also listening to others. We've asked the students to not park on school grounds with the Confederate flag and they are responding by complying," says Duits.
The schools are not legally obligated to respond to the petition. According to Duits, the district's position is based on a potential for destruction of the educational environmental.