ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — Howard County school officials have disciplined a student who displayed a Confederate flag at a high school football game.

The student unfurled the flag while standing at the top of the bleachers during Glenelg High School’s football season opener against River Hill High School and was forced to immediately take it down, said Rebecca Amani-Dove, a spokeswoman for Howard County Public Schools.

She declined to say how the student was disciplined.

Carrying a Confederate flag isn’t illegal, but school administrators can take action against “anything that causes disruption,” Amani-Dove told The Washington Post.

The incident prompted school officials to send letters to parents at both high schools and drew the attention of Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who denounced public displays of the Confederate flag in a Facebook post.

“Public displays of the Confederate flag evoke division, hate and subjugation — precisely the opposite of the values we hold in Howard County, and in Maryland,” Ulman said in the Monday post. “We must teach our kids why this is such a hurtful symbol to so many people. We must fight against injustice and intolerance in any form, especially at our schools.”

Howard County Schools Superintendent Renee Foose said in a statement that the school system has policies that address civility, student conduct and safety, and that “collectively, these policies support a culture that is intolerant of hateful and disruptive behaviors, words, and symbols.”

“The Confederate flag is a powerful symbol of racism, hatred, and unspeakable acts against humanity,” Foose said.

She added that she hopes the incident can serve as a “teachable moment,” for the district’s 53,000 students, and that she’s encouraging them “to understand the sociocultural and historical contexts of all of their peers, and act in ways that are both honorable and respectful.”

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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