A Confederate battle flag painted on the ceiling in the lobby of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School has been replaced by a depiction of Alabama’s state flag, the Rev. Bry Shields, school president, announced in a statement Wednesday.
“The painting was inspired by the Seal of the City of Mobile, which for many years contained six flags, which have flown over our city, including the U.S., British, Spanish, French, and Confederate flags,” Shields wrote. “Because the Confederate flag has become such a polarizing symbol, offensive to many, we have considered what should be done to the mural in the school lobby.”
The announcement comes after a change.org petition received more than 6,500 signatures.
Shields added the school, in accordance with Catholic faith, does not condone racism and teaches students “to respect the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death.”
“We are also proud of our record of providing an excellent academic education, as well as formation in faith, for all of our students, including many African-Americans,” Shields wrote. “The flag in our lobby was never meant to recall or promote the Confederacy, or any of the other nations represented. It was and is a symbol of our pride in being part of the great City of Mobile, and we trust that the change in this painting will more clearly communicate our civic pride and our commitment to justice.”
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