Earlier this summer, Boise Weekly
chronicled Idaho's deep Southern roots and reported how some Gem State residents still embrace the Confederate battle flag,
in spite of the growing national debate over the flag's impact.
"I see them all over," said Dr. Todd Shallat, Boise State professor and director of the university's Center for Idaho History and Politics. "You want to see the Confederate flag? Go to a truck stop. Gun racks. Coffee mugs. Belt buckles... Man and his symbols."
Now the latest flag-flap has unfurled in the Canyon County community of Wilder. That's where the Idaho Press-Tribune reports
a student in the Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency (separate from the Wilder School District) showed up for school this week proudly displaying the so-called "Stars and Bars" on his vehicle. Officials with the Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency said there won't be any disciplinary action after they asked the student not to display the flag again on school property.
Nevertheless, the Press-Tribune
reports the issue will be a topic at the next meeting of school board trustees, set for 6 p.m., Sept. 2 at the COSSA CRTC building in Wilder. School officials said they even want the nearby Caldwell Police Department to weigh in on the matter and comment whether they think the flag is a gang indicator.
School officials said they decided the flag should be removed from school property after they consulted idahogangs.com, a site managed by the Idaho Department of Correction. The website—though currently down—reportedly includes the Confederate battle flag as a gang indicator.
"If it's on the website, it's not allowed on school property," said COSSA CEO Harold Nevill told the Press-Tribune.
Meanwhile, a more high-profile Idahoan has run into controversy over support for the Confederate battle flag. Blanchard Republican Rep. Heather Scott in July posted a photo to Facebook in which she is shown holding the flag on a float during the annual Timber Days celebration in Priest River.
Attached to the photo, which also included her campaign sign, Scott wrote: "Protecting and promoting our freedom of speech is an honor." Joining her on the float, according to the Spokesman-Review
, was Ponderay Republican Rep. Sage Dixon.
The S-R reports
human rights leaders in North Idaho condemned Scott's use of the flag, while Priest River Mayor Jim Martin expressed disappointment that she chose to include it in the town's celebration.
"I think that things like this will lead to people in other areas characterizing us in a certain way because of the history we have in North Idaho," he said, referring to the period from the mid-1980s through the 1990s when the region was home to the Aryan Nations and other extremist groups that also included the Confederate battle flag in their demonstrations
For her part, Scott told the S-R
she would "do it again."