Confederate flag jury to resume deliberations Thursday

Emily Stroud – Posted: 8/13/2008

A federal jury is considering the case of a Confederate flag ban in Anderson County schools. Eighteen-year-old Tommy DeFoe is suing the Anderson County School Board and several individuals.

He was suspended more than a dozen times for wearing Confederate battle flag t-shirts to school. That violated dress code policy.

He says the policy violated his right to free speech.

In closing arguments, his attorney, Van Irion, told the jury, "Policies are going to change tomorrow or the next day, based on what you eight decide."

Defense attorney Arthur Knight said, "This case is more than this young man. This young man wore his Confederate flag to school. But the arguments being advanced, he is unaware of. This is an agenda."

DeFoe himself spoke about the case outside the courthouse.

"I’m just proud to be who I am, and I’m just proud of my heritage and it’s everybody’s right to wear the Confederate battle flag or any other thing they want to wear," he said. "They ought to have the right to wear it, especially if you’re proud of your heritage."

The 8-member jury deliberated two hours Wednesday afternoon. Deliberations resume at 8:30 Thursday morning.

The plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, meaning some sort of change in school policy regarding the flag.

DeFoe has also sued for actual and punitive damages.

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