Matt Steecker

May 7, 2021

-Ithaca Journal


A Tompkins County woman involved in a custody case has received orders from appellate justices in Albany to remove a rock from her property that is painted with a Confederate flag or else she may risk custody of her multiracial daughter.

The appellate justices ruled unanimously to allow the woman and the father to have joint custody of the girl, who was born in 2014 and attends an elementary school in the Dryden Central School District. Circumstances could change, however, if the rock is not removed by June 1.

“Given that the child is of mixed race, it would seem apparent that the presence of the flag is not in the child’s best interests, as the mother must encourage and teach the child to embrace her mixed race identity, rather than thrust her into a world that only makes sense through the tortured lens of cognitive dissonance,” court documents stated. “Further, and viewed pragmatically, the presence of the confederate flag is a symbol inflaming the already strained relationship between the parties.”

Attorney Jason Leifer, the child’s law guardian, told the Albany Times-Union he believed the woman recently moved into the home and did not know if she was responsible for the rock near her driveway. Still, he agreed with the justice’s reasoning.