NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday in favor of a Tennessee school system that banned the Confederate battle flag because of concerns the symbol could inflame racial tensions at a high school.

Students Derek Barr, Chris White, Roger Craig White and their parents said in a lawsuit their free speech rights were violated by the 2005 flag ban at William Blount High School in Maryville, about 15 miles south of Knoxville.

School officials said the ban came after previous race-related incidents that included a racial slur, a fight, a civil rights complaint, a lockdown and graffiti depicting a Confederate flag and a noose.