The US state of Georgia turned down an offer by members of the Ku Klux Klan to adopt a stretch of highway to keep it tidy, saying the sight of the group’s name on a sign would be distressing.
Members of the white supremacist organization applied to the “Adopt-A-Highway” program in the southern state of Georgia last month, which enlists the help of volunteers to remove trash from the sides of major roads.
Groups that participate are provided with free garbage bags and safety vests. In addition, special signs recognizing their efforts are put up next to the strip of street they sponsor.
But “the impact of erecting a sign naming an organization which has a long rooted history of civil disturbance would cause a significant public concern,” state transportation commissioner Keith Golden wrote in his letter of explanation.
Potential “impacts (of the sign) include safety of the travelling public, potential social unrest, driver distraction or interference with the flow of traffic,” Golden added.
Authorities in the state of Missouri rejected a similar request from the Ku Klux Klan in 1997 on the grounds that it came from a group that was discriminatory in nature.
However, a federal appeals court later ruled in favor of the far-right KKK, arguing the US Constitution prohibited the state from denying an application due to a difference in opinion.