SDIRC Bans Hate Symbols

School District of Indian River County First School District in Florida to Ban Confederate Flag and Swastika
Posted on 07/24/2020

Vero Beach, FL, July 24, 2020 At our July 21st Business Meeting, our Board unanimously approved a Board policy banning hate symbols, including the Confederate flag and swastika, making the School District of Indian River County (SDIRC) the first school district in Florida to ban these hate symbols.  Our newly approved 2020-2021 SDIRC Code of Student Conduct Handbook included additional language specifying the Confederate flag and swastika as “…items that promote intolerance or confrontation.”


Board Policy 5517.01 protects students and staff from bullying and harassment within our educational environments.  “…Students shall not, at school, on school property or at school-sponsored activities, display or transmit (in any medium, including clothing, jewelry, posters, stickers, flyers or buttons) writings, images or symbols that are reasonably expected to be divisive, demeaning, or offensive to any person or group or disruptive to the learning environment; including, but not limited to writings, images or symbols associated with hate groups; that are obscene, slanderous, or libelous; that are associated with intimidation, violence or violent groups; which advocate racial, ethnic or religious prejudice (i.e., items that promote intolerance or confrontation, including the Confederate flag or swastika) or that denigrate others on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Images and symbols covered by this policy are permissible in library or approved learning materials, or in a classroom setting, (e.g., a history class’ discussion of the Civil War or World War II) as part of a learning assignment supervised by a teacher.”


School Board Chairman, Laura Zorc, stated, I am proud of our Board for their 5-0 vote approving the policy banning the Confederate flag and swastika.  We are committed to ensuring that every campus in the School District of Indian River County is a welcoming and safe environment for all students. Our school district, together as a system, has the responsibility to challenge itself to do better in the spirit of continuous improvement so that every single one of our students has the opportunity to build their best life and to do it in an environment that is truly steeped in a culture of inclusive excellence.”


Superintendent of Schools, David K. Moore, Ed.D., added, As the first school district in Florida to ban the Confederate flag and swastika, we are proud, as well as hopeful that other districts will follow in our footsteps.  In our mission to provide an equitable educational experience to all students, we must alsdemand an equitable school and work environment, free of discrimination, where all students and staff members feel both mentally and physically safe and comfortable.”


To close this week of work representing significant strides for equity in our District, today, Friday, July 24th, the School District of Indian River County celebrated their first annual Equity in Action, Moving to Re- Envision 2025 conference at Storm Grove Middle School, organized by Dr. Deborah A. Taylor-Long, SDIRC Coordinator of Equity, Family, and Engagement.


Dr. Deborah A. Taylor-Long, stated, This conference is about ensuring that every child has an opportunity for an equitable education; and in order to do that, we have to educate ourselves, the community, and our school district, and build a relationship and partnership to make that goal a reality.  I want people to take away with them a renewed spirit that we are all in this together.


The conference was attended by over 100 people, including community members and SDIRC students and staff members. The opening session included a welcome by SDIRC Board Chairman, Laura Zorc, prayer by Dr. Crystal Bujol, and musical performance by Mr. Brian Carter.  Mrs. Dorothy Walker and Mrs. Valerie Brant-Wilson shared their experiences of “Life in Indian River County,” and SDIRC students Rylie Walker, Xaria Reason, and 2020 graduate, Christopher Peterson, shared their Life on Campus experiences. Superintendent of Schools, David K. Moore, Ed.D. was the keynote speaker for the opening session. Following the opening session, participants rotated through break-out sessions including, Journey to Equity,” facilitated by Dr. Donna Elam, Historical Overview, facilitated by State Representative Geraldine F. Thompson, Restorative Justice, facilitated by Dr. Mara Schiff and Mrs. Lavonne Walker, and “Leadership with Moral Courage, facilitated by Dr. Rosalind Osgood.  Following the break-out sessions, our school leadership teams attended an extended session, Plan of Action, to collaborate and plan for the implementation of the knowledge and strategies gained at this conference on each of their individual campuses. Our school district would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the success of our Equity in Action, Moving to Re-Envision 2025 conference.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Cristen Maddux at 772-564-5527 or email at