Morristown, Tenn. (WVLT) - As school starts back, some high school students are being told to leave their Confederate flags at home.
The controversial move was made because of something that Hamblen County Superintendent Dale Lynch says wasn't controversial at all.
"We've got a responsibility as school officials to protect our students and that's what we're doing," said Lynch.
All of the attention on the Rebel flag lately, he added, is making its appearance at school distracting and putting students' safety at risk.
"They were showing these flags and portraying these flags as something that would disrupt and does disrupt the educational process."
For now, students who wear anything that displays the flag are asked to change clothes or face consequences. But, some students aren't so quick to follow the new rule.
"If I wore a rebel flag shirt and they told me to change, I wouldn't change," said Morristown-Hamblen High School East student Andy Burden.
It's a policy Lynch said he has had to implement in the past over other disruptive symbols like band t-shirts.
"We want to make sure our kids feel safe and that's what we're doing," said Lynch.
"That's taking away a piece of Tennessee, you take away a piece of Tennessee then what's the point of being Tennessee," said Burden.