Construction worker pulled from Albany High project for car with Confederate flag

ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — Once, twice, and they are eliminated. Albany Central School District says they were kind enough to issue a warning the first time a construction worker at the Albany High expansion site showed up in a car with a Confederate flag sticker on the hood.

“We don’t tolerate hate symbols or things like that in our district. It’s a discriminatory practice, it’s racist practice, and we don’t support that,” Superintendent Kaweeda Adams says.

Adams says after students began posting photos of the car on social media on Monday, the district contacted Turner Construction, the company that hired the worker. He was told to take the car off school property and not drive it back, but when this man came back and parked the car again in front of the school the next day, he was done.

“It absolutely contributes to the social and emotional well-being of our students and our families, and so with that, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to make sure that we had all the right people at the table very quickly. so that we can respond to this situation,” Adams tells NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Adams says the district has kept the Albany police, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office and local unions informed since the issue arose. She adds that after this weekend’s tragic and racist mass shooting in Buffalo, they must take every precaution to protect students and staff from danger and stress.

“How could we, as people of color, not be on the lookout for this type of activity? Absolutely people of color and I think everyone in our community because you don’t know how far this will go,” she said.

Turner Construction responds to NEWS10 on Wednesday that the worker is a third-party contractor and not employed by the company. However, they say such a display is unacceptable:

Turner Construction Company has zero tolerance for bias and hate. On Monday, we learned that an employee of one of the contractors working on the Albany High School project had parked his car at the school with a Confederate flag on the hood. This person is not an employee of Turner.

There is no place for hate on our job site and the display of the Confederate flag is completely unacceptable. In response, we spoke to all of the contractors working on the site – including the person who owned the car – to explain how important it is to have an environment free of racism and hate and where all people feel welcomed and treated with respect. The individual was asked to move his car off campus and not return with it. The individual granted the request.

On Tuesday, the same vehicle was parked directly in front of the school. We have contacted the individual’s employer to let him know that he is not welcome on this project.

We will continue to work with our customers, business partners and unions to make it clear to everyone on site that we stand united and stand by our commitment to fostering respect in our workplace and will take action when we see racism, prejudice and hatred.

Turner Construction Company

A Turner representative also clarified on Wednesday that this person will not be welcome on any Turner job site. While this worker might have the right to free speech in his day, Adams adds that he’s not exempt from hiring standards.

“We get to figure out who we do business with, who we contract with,” she says.

Alice F. Ponder