'Controversy' leads U.S. Capitol to replace Confederate flag with state coins _lowres

The Advocate File photo

WEST MONROE, La. (AP) - A high school in Louisiana is restricting Confederate battle flags that have been displayed for decades at athletic events.

The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/1JsKDXj) that West Monroe High School, where teams are called the rebels, has banned students from flying the flag from their vehicles on campus.

Principal Shelby Ainsworth says clothing featuring the flag will still be allowed at games. Fans can still carry rebel flags - just not on poles or sticks.

Ainsworth says administrators confiscated several flags Friday and would return them to students or parents.

He said the new restrictions are based on nationwide response to the killings in June of nine black worshippers at a church in South Carolina. The man charged in the slayings had been photographed holding a Confederate battle flag.

School officials "don't want to do anything on our campus that would rub salt in a national wound," Ainsworth said.

Ouachita Parish School Board Superintendent Don Coker said school officials want to keep the rebel mascot without the flag becoming a "distraction."