by Bailey McGowan & Phil Anaya from kens5.com
SAN ANTONIO — A white T-shirt with the words “confederate born” and “confederate bred” caused a controversy at MacArthur High School Wednesday and now a father wants an apology.
Mason Deering, 18, wore the shirt to school Wednesday because he says it represents his southern heritage and was not supposed to be a racist commentary.
“I created the shirt because I’m proud of my heritage, I’m proud to be from the south, so I decided to make the shirt and this is the first day I wore it to school,” said Deering.
According to Deering, a teacher thought the shirt was questionable and sent Deering to the principal’s office for the principal to decide if the shirt violated school policy or not.
“This shirt certainly has the potential to cause controversy, to spark negative comments so the teacher had a legitimate concern,” said NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor.
According to NEISD’s policy, clothing or hairstyles that might be considered disruptive to the learning process can be reviewed by the principal to decide an appropriate course of action, said Chancellor.
“It’s not up to us to decide what’s wrong with the shirt, per se, we just know from past experience that this is the type of shirt, the slogan that was on it, that can certainly cause controversy and spark negative feelings,” said Chancellor.
While waiting for the principal, Deering was argumentative and disruptive, according to Chancellor. Deering said he was trying to explain that the shirt represents his southern heritage.
The assistant principal asked Deering to change his shirt. Deering claims the assistant principle told him the shirt was racist. Deering refused to change and left the school.
Deering is 18 and decided to go home, where he explained what happened to his dad. The father, Robert Deering, told KENS 5 his son is not racist and that they are from the south.
“We have family, Stonewall Jackson in our family, that was in the confederate army and we’re proud of that. That’s part of our heritage,” said Robert Deering. “That’s all he’s doing right now and he [Mason] believes in and I’m fine with that and I back him on what he’s doing. He’s not a racist and we’re definitely not racist.”
Mason is a member of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He said the organization is backing his decision to wear the shirt.
The school called the Deerings and said the principal did not have an issue with Mason wearing the shirt to school. Robert said he wants the school to apologize to his son.
Mason said he plans on wearing the shirt Monday morning.