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PHOENIX -- The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has opened an investigation into a complaint against Queen Creek High's "Redneck Day" held earlier this year.

The complaint against the Queen Creek Unified School District was filed by Phoenix civil rights activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin. In the complaint, Maupin said the event created a racially hostile environment.

Redneck Day, organized in May by the school's student council, angered several students and parents.

"I hope district leaders will demonstrate what racial cooperation and harmony looks like by working with leaders from communities of color to change policies and prevent 'Redneck Day' or any like it from happening again," Maupin said in a statement.

In a letter to Maupin, the Department of Education noted that, the office "is a neutral fact-finder, collecting and analyzing relevant evidence from the complainant, the recipient, and other sources, as appropriate."

The letter also stated that investigations could be terminated if the school district takes action to resolve the issue or an agreement between parties is reached.

One Queen Creek High student wore a Confederate flag during the May 1 event.

The DOE's Office for Civil Rights says ``the display of the Confederate flag concerns rights protected by the First Amendment.''

But it also says in a letter that the investigation's scope ``will be limited to whether a racially hostile environment was created due to language and actions that were not protected by the First Amendment.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

KTAR Newsroom,

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