UPDATE: School responds to student's belt buckle controversy

Published: Dec. 3, 2013 at 2:04 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2013 at 10:29 PM EST
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MASON, OH (FOX19) - The belt buckle in question is a large one that features the Confederate flag. Cody Long started wearing it to Mason High School after his friend died. Cody says the friend gave him the belt.

It didn't take long for the other kids to notice the belt, and to lash out at him.

"I don't like to pick fights that much. I am not one to start them, but I am one to finish it," said Cody.

Cody told FOX19 that school administrators got involved after the backlash from other students grew. He wound up suspended from Mason High after a fight. His mom Tammy said school leaders told her son he couldn't wear the belt if he wanted to attend school there.

"Just because you are offended by something, doesn't meant you have to stop someone else from using it," said Tammy Long.

On Tuesday, Mason's Public Information Officer released a statement saying:

"We are committed to making sure that each one of our students feels safe and eager to come to school. For that reason, we have a code that outlines the way that students and staff should dress so that distractions are minimized and we have a positive learning environment."

The dress code specifically states that "Dress and grooming are not such as to disrupt the teaching/learning process."

In the meantime, Tammy said Cody doesn't wear the buckle as a way to show hate, but as a way to remember his friend. She says it is wrong for school administrators to stop her son from wearing it.

"He won't be 'him' if someone continues to tell us how to be and how to dress and how to act," said Tammy.

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