Oak Grove Student Not Allowed To Use Flag In Assignment
POSTED: 8:36 pm CDT April 8, 2005
UPDATED: 9:07 pm CDT April 8, 2005

OAK GROVE, Mo. — A North Carolina man protested outside a Jackson County school Friday in support of a high school student.

Dressed in period uniform and waving a Confederate flag, H.K. Edgerton told KMBC’s Bev Chapman that he was protesting the Oak Grove High School administration because they refused to allow a student to use the flag in an assignment. The student had also wanted to involve Edgerton in his presentation.

"He was told ‘Shut up and sit down’ — that he could not do a report around there on me," Edgerton said.

Edgerton, of Black Mountain, N.C., is an activist with the Southern Legal Resource Center and he used to head a branch of the NAACP. Three years ago, he carried the flag halfway across the United States to make a point about American history.

"A black man who’s proud of his Confederate heritage … The bottom line, this flag is not about hate, it’s about our heritage," Edgerton said. "It’s just a symbol of this time period in history."

Superintendent Dr. James Haley said this was a sensitivity issue, not a heritage issue, and some people find the Confederate flag offensive.

Haley said the student received a grade on his work, but he did not follow the assignment.

"Oak Grove is just the tip of the iceberg — there are places where babies can’t even use the word ‘Confederate,’ let alone show the flag," Edgerton said.

Haley said Confederate flags are not being singled out; he said any type of clothing deemed offensive is banned from school.

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