Marana High School Principal Cheats All In Confederate Flag Decision

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For many parents of Marana High School students it wasn’t Principal David Mandel’s decision to ban of the Confederate Flag that bothered them as much as the way he chose to do it. Parents were notified of Mandel’s decision in what appeared to be a deliberately vague and alarming letter.

Mandel wrote in part, “Over the past month we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students and staff sharing concerns and students feeling unsafe as a result of the Confederate flag on the Marana High School campus. ….When an element of student speech, whether by symbolic representation or explicit utterance, presents a significant potential for disruption to the education of students and the work of the adults on campus, we are responsible to address the situation. To that end, we concluded, that the display and possession of the Confederate Flag poses a reasonable barrier to feelings of safety and sense of well-being for a large number of our students and staff. As a result, we worked in consultation with legal counsel to ensure we proceeded appropriately. In an effort to keep all students safe, a new rule has been put in place to eliminate this potential disruption on the Marana High School campus. As of Dec 13, the Confederate flag will only be displayed on campus as part of classroom curriculum.”

After the letter became news, the District elaborated and told the ADI in an email that there “have been physical altercations on the campus, anonymous threats reported to MHS administration regarding physical violence and/or property destruction relating to the display of Confederate flags, as well as racial comments made preceding physical contact between students, and flags have been stolen from vehicles during the school day.”

While Mandel’s letter appears to show respect for diverse views including those that view the Confederate flag in a positive light, some parents are concerned that Mandel’s arbitrary decision has put their kids at risk. They ask: what’s next? What if he decides that he can issue another edict to simply target another kid he deems “noncompliant?” What will be the next forbidden symbol, or attire?

Mandel’s decision to ban the flag is not a district-wide policy. It was not discussed in public. There was no chance for parents to share their concerns with the governing board members they elected.

According to Marana Unified School District, Director of Public Relations, Tamara Crawley, “This year, as disruptive behavior has occurred it was also individually addressed as aligned with our comprehensive discipline matrix. However, despite consequences and following of regular discipline processes, we have had students and parents who continued to be non-compliant, which grew beyond individual incidents to a greater campus-wide disruption….”

Mandel was well within his rights, and has a responsibility to maintain order. However, students on both sides of the issue are being harmed by an administration that is taking the easy way out and not working with kids or parents to iron out the problems. It is the kids, who displayed the flag, that were the victims of “physical altercations” while other kids were subjected to ugly epithets.

Yet we are supposed to take seriously an administration that punishes a young female student for wearing a small Confederate flag belt buckle to school. That act of defiance earned her in house suspension.

That student told the ADI: “To us the flag symbolizes our roots, how we choose to live our lives, how we were raised.” She said that when they call the Confederate flag the “battle flag,” it is not an “intimidation tactic it’s just what it is. The flag resembles a way of life that we choose to live. The southern life, hard working men and women who have strong feelings for the country we live in and we are often raised under the word of God, therefore are taught all people are equal and to live humbly. None of the students that are proudly flying this flag believe we are better than anyone else nor do we support acts of racial superiority. We are just living life the good ol’ country way.”

There is no reason to doubt her words. She appears to have said the very same words to the multiple outlets that have attempted to exploit the situation.

There is also little doubt that the battle over the flag at Marana is more about a struggle between the urban and rural students that occupy the same space. The struggle between the haves, and have nots. That struggle has as many symbols as it has places where the struggle exists.

From the Arizona Daily Star – Marana High bans Confederate flag; students’ display called disruptive

Lagois was leaning against the truck, from which the Confederate flag flapped in the wind. The light-blue GMC also had the word, “redneck” written on the tailgate. The word, the senior said, represents a life of blue-collar workers, country folk and back roads.

Jose Mendez, 17, who was part of the group hanging out by the pickup across the street from the school, said their values must be accepted the same way they’re expected to accept values they don’t agree with.

Unfortunately, like Marana High School, too many of those places lack leaders who are willing to do the hard work of making people talk to each other, understand where each person is coming from, and examine how they can reconcile the differences.

Principal Mandel took the easy sleazy way out, and while he may have made a few kids feel safer, he made more kids feel less safe. Those kids and their parents will now have to wonder every day what’s next.


  1. “Mandel is a perfect example of someone educated beyond their means to comprehend.” -Randall Damewood

  2. Eric, you are correct. The beltbuckle is the Naval flag. From memory what I saw on one of the trucks was a square flag. That is why I thought he banned the ANV ensign. Great history lesson for us all thanks. Before I moved here I was in the 5th Alabama reenactment group in Ct.

  3. Actually that’s not the battle flag that’s the Confederate Naval Flag the Confederate Battle Flag was a square flag of the same design and was used mostly by the Army of Northern Virginia or at the least units in the Army of Northers Virginia that were not Militia units. Militia Units as a rule generally flew their State Flags.

  4. The princapal should look at his history books. What he banned was the battle flag of Thr Army of Northern Virginia. The CSA flag is not what he banned. As a wise man once said “Ya don’t line the way I’m livin, just leave this long haired country boy alone”

  5. There is a term in Spanish for after the fact suggestions, “a toro pasado” which means, after the bull has passed. This comes from wannabe bull fighters who criticized the bullfighter who stood in front of the bull as to how he could have done a better pass. We can all criticize and make after the fact decisions after a pressing issue has been handled. All these comments and suggestions are done a toro pasado. Something had to be done and it was done. I personally agree with the way it was handled and I do not envy the person who had to make this decision.

  6. Dr. Mandel’s acts remind me of famous quotations from MacBeth. The first one, uttered by witches: “Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” might indicate the state of his mind. Another famous quotation soon follows, from the mind of the loony Macbeth: “From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand.” Thoughtless acts signaled impending tragedy. Dr. Mandel should think things through and even consult the community before acting.

    • Question; As he has caused a “disruption” by students who may like flying the flag because of his, in my opinion, “unconstitutional act”, how about BANNING him from school property.

  7. I know its not here but there have been several nationally newsed events where the US flag has been ‘Banned’ at some schools! Remember the students in kalif who were sent home because they wore shirts with the flag displayed. I think a place in tex had the same thing go on. PCism is running rampant in school systems at all levels. The news had it that some ‘professor’ incited the killing of white people, that he has caused the issue to create a place for who ever and yes he has declared himself to be a communist/socialist and NOTHING happened to him!

    So this is just another indicator of what is happening to the country. The race to the bottom is still going full tilt. bho and company did change this country and it was not for the better, but the fault does not start or stop there. We have not had a good person running for prez in the past 40 years. All are political wonks and that is why now the whining about trump. He has the $$ and cant be bought, he has surrounded himself with people in the same condition. Its not that they are not politicians, its that they can no longer be bought and the rules are changing. When you have someone saying the country comes 1st that creates problem for those like greedyhalfa and friends who only put SELF 1st. Lets hope for the real hope and change this time not the mealy mouthed BS that has been spouted for the last 20 years.

  8. Tamara Crawley says “non-compliant” parents and students caused “campus-wide disruption.” Really? How is it possible that my kids and their friends who all go to MHS and are all very active in many activities there never heard of anything in relation to this flag until they suddenly found out they could get a disciplinary referral for displaying it? Which is worse: non-compliance or intolerance? It’s a creepy thing to say. Creepy-Crawley, shame on you.

  9. Rich K, that’s the excuse he used, but not the case here. I have kids at MHS. They and their friends haven’t seen or heard of any fights, threats, or disruptions over this flag. Earlier this year there were a bunch of kids who were driving their cars dangerously around the school who all had the Japanese flag on their cars. Why didn’t they ban the Japanese flag? By the same twisted logic shouldn’t that have fixed the problem? Not only that, but maybe the Japanese flag offended some whose grandfathers fought in WWII. It seems to me that this is a bogus solution in search of a problem, or perhaps the administration is singling out a group of kids they don’t like. It’s a spineless decision that really just has the end result of degrading respect for Dr. Mandel by showing parents that he’ll abuse his authority to supress those he doesn’t like. I guess his fancy doctorate program didn’t include any discussions about respecting us poor, ignorant country folk.

  10. I would think this would be at the bottom of a long list of real tangible “disruptions”. How about gangs, fighting, butts hanging out of pants, bullying, drugs, smoking, instilling discipline, truancy and threatening of teachers just to name a few forever ongoing and “real” disruptions? This ‘feel good’ move was done because of the ease of low hanging fruit and the concern for one side to be “safe”. I wonder what would happen if it was a Russian or Iranian Flag. Would it then be protected? You know, free speech.

  11. The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment rights of free speech and expression are limited by actions that are materially disruptive to education or discipline in schools. In Tinker v. Des Moines School District, the court held that free speech does not stop at the schoolhouse door, but is limited by legitimate concerns of education officials over disruptions to the learning process. If disruptions were actually happening over displays of the Confederate flag then the principal was well within his legal authority in banning the displays of the flag. There is no requirement that the principal try to dispel the fearful or hostile feelings that are brought to the surface when students see that flag before banning its display. If there is disruption then the principal has the legal authority and the legal duty to act to stop that disruption and prevent its reoccurrence.

    • I don’t think that was the point. The point is how the principal didn’t involve the students or the parents. The article, and not even the parents, did not question his authority to do so. What is in question is how he did it, with no dialogue. That is what was troubling.

    • The SCOTUS Judges, as do most judges, when ruling on the Constitutionality of laws and things done in our once great country, do so most of the time to push their own agendas.

      So what you are saying is, you or other people that dislike something, can have it banned from occurring on campus, and all that you/they have to do is show one person that is distraught over it and demand that the powers that be bar it from school campus.

      They also have ruled that burning the American flag is “free speech”, so, if a student was to burn it at/on school property, and cause a “disruption”, as you and
      others like to call it, that would be OK, and the powers that be, in this case the principal, could “ban the American flag” from being displayed in ANY manner from campus property.

      If any parent, or their children are distraught over the new bathroom rules allowing either sex to use the same bathroom, why can that not be stopped according to the worst president our nation has ever had?

  12. CommiNazism rears it’s ugly face at Marana high school and shows the Stupidity of the “collage educated Morons” running it. This time it is our 1st Amendment RIGHT of free speech. Next time if they gain power it will be the ELIMINATION of our 2nd Amendment RIGHT to “keep and bear arms”.

    The flag that they banned is NOT the flag of the Confederate States of America. It was the “Battle Flag” of I believe a regiment of the Virginia Army. If they want to ban a flag that represented “Slavery”, then they should ban the Flag of the United State of America, as it flew over our once great nation for over!00 years during the time slavery still existed in our nation.

    The DEMONcrats and their B.S. “Politically Correctness”, are the reason that any resemblance of Racism is still with us as, they are the true RACIST’S in our country, and just like Obummer they want to keep, “We the people” divided, as they have seen just how powerful we can be if we join together, as evidence in the last Presidential Race when not only “White voters”, but also millions of “Minorities” voted for President Elect Trump.

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