DETROIT.- A student who led a two-day demonstration outside of his central Michigan high school this week said it was in response to the unpunished theft of a Confederate battle flag from his pickup truck. Cameron Myers, an 18-year-old senior at Bay City Western High School, an overwhelmingly white high school about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Detroit in Auburn, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he complained to school officials that someone had cut the large Confederate flag from a pole on his truck, but no one was disciplined.
He then took to friends on social media, asking them to fly their own flags outside the school. “It all started because my flag was destroyed and nothing was done about it,” said Myers.
“I said to ‘fly whatever flag you have at home.’ Everybody here has the Confederate flag. It’s a country boy thing where it’s in their garages, bedrooms, windows.
On Tuesday, about five to eight trucks with Confederate flags parked across from the school, where only about seven of the roughly 1,200 students are black.
There were about 20 parked vehicles on Wednesday, and they were met by students who staged a counter-demonstration by waving rainbow flags and placards with messages including “Black Lives Matter” and “Hate Not Heritage.”
School officials said most of the pro-Confederate flag demonstrators weren’t students at the school, but Myers disagreed, saying all but one went to Bay City Western. Administrators canceled classes Thursday at the high school and an adjoining middle school due to reported threats.
But Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham said the reports apparently started with “one student hearing from another student and passed around on social media.” Eventually, the information that “people were coming over to Bay City Western to confront students” made its way to the high school’s principal, said the school district superintendent, Stephen Bigelow. He said both schools planned to reopen Friday.