Teens' prom picture with guns and a Confederate flag causes controversy

DENVER, CO (KTRK) -- Eight high school students in Denver stirred up a controversy after posing for their prom photos with guns and the Confederate flag.

In the photo, three boys are seen holding a Confederate flag while five girls stand around them. Two of the girls are holding an assault weapon and a rifle with a tactical scope, while the other girls make gun gestures with their hands. The students, who all attend Chaparral High School, are are dressed in floor-length gowns and tuxedos.

The controversial photo was posted on social media and has since gone viral. Some say they don't see anything wrong with the photo, calling the Confederate flag a piece of history. Others have complained, saying the flag is associated with slavery.

"If you're going to take a picture of a flag, you need to know what it stands for. You need to know that people are going to be offended by it," Mairenn Digeorge, a student at University of Colorado-Boulder, toldKDVR-TV after seeing the photo on her Facebook feed.

One of the girls in the photo, who has not been identified, has since apologized.

"I was very uncomfortable with this whole situation and didn't know what to say or what to do," the student told KDVR-TV. "I don't condone any of the actions that were in the picture and I don't condone anything that has to do with the flag."

The mother of one of the boys in the photo told the television station she was shocked by the image. She says the picture wasn't her son's idea.

"When he got there he was surprised that guns were brought out and the Confederate flag was brought out," the parent said. "There were other parents there fully supporting it and taking pictures."

The flag was never the official flag of the Confederacy during the Civil War, although its design was incorporated into several of the flags that were used. It was used as a battle flag, and today it is part of the state flag of Mississippi. While supporters say the flag represents "southern pride," others believe it is a symbol of racism, pointing to variations often used by white supremacy organizations.

It's not clear if the students were disciplined for the photo. Chaparral High school has refused to comment.
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