The Anchorage School District is investigating a photo shared on social media that some people may find offensive. The photo, which is believed to have been taken inside Chugiak High School on Friday, shows several students posing with a modified Confederate flag that includes the silhouette of a woman in flames at the bottom.


A screenshot of the original post, sent in by a KTVA viewer


The text says, “If your (sic) offended… hah that sucks. That’s your problem.”


Anchorage School District spokeswoman Heidi Embley released a statement that says in part:



“Chugiak High School principals will speak with the students involved to learn more about their intentions and discuss appropriate actions in school settings. Staff must balance the rights of students to engage in free speech with the right for all students to attend school in a safe environment.”



One student’s mother told KTVA that her African American daughter felt intimidated by the flag incident at her school. Solveig Pedersen, another woman who saw the photo, felt similarly.


“It makes me feel uncomfortable,” Pedersen said. “And if I were a student at that school or if I was faculty at that school, it would definitely make me feel discomfort and perhaps not safe.”


But school officials say at this point it’s looking like the law is on the students’ side.


Embley said school officials are trying to determine what, if any disturbance the student’s actions caused at the school.


Joshua Decker, director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Alaska, said he believed the students actions were protected under the constitution but hopes the school would use the incident as a teachable moment about what’s appropriate and respectful.


KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or on Twitter.


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