A Sense of History

Security removed a school principal from his campus after he was photographed at the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, near a Confederate flag.
However, Dean said the fact that he was shown standing next to monument supporters was pure coincidence.

"I didn't go to protest for either side. I went because I am a historian, educator and New Orleans resident who wanted to observe this monumental event," he said. "People who know me know that I am a crusader for children and I fight tirelessly on their behalf."
If he has a degree in history, of course he'd want to document a historic event. Whatever else these removals of Confederate memorials in New Orleans are, they are events that mark something important in the region's history. It can be hard to say just what that something is until time has passed; perhaps it's just that enough of the generations closer to the Civil War are now dead, and thus the balance of who cares about that war has shifted demographically. Perhaps the racist killings in Charleston, SC, moved many hearts. Perhaps it is something else.

Still, if the principal had been a fervent supporter of Robert E. Lee, could he be fired for it? Would an educator who was also a member of, say, the Sons of Confederate Veterans suddenly be a security risk who needed to be forcibly removed from campus? The law seems to suggest that even those with disapproved opinions have some rights under the law; that's why we have to let the Westboro Baptist Church protest the funerals of soldiers and Marines.

It seems that leeway does not apply to every disapproved opinion. I suppose we shall see if it still applies to historians who merely wanted to document the event.

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