White supremacist revisionist history has been leaping off the page in elementary schools across the country lately. Just in the last couple months (and this is only what’s been reported, mind you) a middle school teacher at a Florida public school was unmasked as a white nationalist podcast host, a private school in Wisconsin tasked fourth-graders with the job of offering up “3 ‘good’ reasons for slavery,” and now CNN is reporting that an elementary school in Tennessee has removed a mural depicting confederate flags and a lynching scene from its gymnasium after a brewing conflict surrounding the racist images exploded on social media.
CNN reported on Monday that David Clark, who works as a janitor at a school near to the one under scrutiny, has being sending emails and calling up the superintendent and the school board since December, complaining about the mural, which until recently decorated a gym at South Cumberland Elementary School (located just outside of Nashville).
After Clark felt the situation was not progressing, because it wasn’t, he expressed his dismay in a Facebook post containing pictures of the mural on Friday, writing, “No action has been planned or taken as of today so I am asking people to call and let them know in a respectful manner, how you feel about these racist symbols being on full public display where children can see them. Germany does not display Nazi symbols. This is not heritage, it is racism.”
Hundreds of people commented on and shared the post, and by the end of the day the Confederate flag and lynching scene had been removed from the gym. School Principal Darrell Threet told CNN, “Concerns regarding graphics in our gymnasium have been dealt with by removing the rebel flags painted on the wall, and by modifying the mural on the wall as well.” The intention behind the painting was reportedly to depict an athletic rivalry, South Cumberland’s mascot being a “Rebel,” which certainly doesn’t improve matters.
By Saturday night, CNN reported, the comments on Clark’s Facebook post had taken a nasty turn and became mostly critical of the mural’s removal, calling it “unpatriotic” and an insult to Southern heritage. USA Today reported that as of Monday morning a petition against the mural’s removal had gained 165 signatures.