The Southern Legal Resource Center
eU P D A T E
Monday, November 8, 2010

Published electronically by the Southern Legal Resource Center
P.O. Box 1235,
Black Mountain, NC 28711


GASTON COUNTY, NC – Thanks to information and advice from the Southern Legal Resource Center, a Gaston County student will once again be able to wear Confederate-themed clothing to class without fear of "disciplinary" action.

Travis Lewis, 17, a student at Hunter Huss High School in Gaston County, received an apology from the local Superintendent of Schools and was assured that he could resume wearing his Dixie Outfitters Confederate-themed t-shirts to class. The Superintendent’s actions reversed those of the high school principal, who on Oct. 5 had told Travis the Dixie Outfitters shirt he was wearing was "inappropriate" and that he would have to change or cover it up. When Travis and another student demurred, reports say, Gaston County police officers and other school administrators converged on the students, who then complied.

Travis’ father, Scott Lewis, said his son had been wearing the shirts for three years with no complaint or disruption. According to Lewis Sr., the principal told him a Mexican flag shirt, for instance, would have been appropriate to wear but that Confederate symbols had caused tension within the past few years.

At this point, the Lewises sought direction from the SLRC. Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons advised them that theoretically the school could ban Confederate shirts if there were clear and present danger of "substantial and material disruption"; but otherwise to do so was an abridgement of the student’s First Amendment rights. Lyons cited two landmark cases, Tinker Vs. Des Moines and Frederick v. Morse as precedents. Armed with this information, the Lewises went back to the school board. The school system’s attorney said he had no knowledge of any specific ban on Confederate symbols. Subsequently the Superintendent issued his apology, told Travis he was free to wear his shirts  and, according to Mr. Lewis, "promised to make sure

[the principal] better understands the policy and the law.”

"This is a good example of how these types of situations can be defused with just proper and open communication," Lyons said. "It’s also an example of the many such incidents the SLRC is able to help resolve without taking anybody to court."

School forces outside workman to remove CBF
From truck? SLRC investigates reports

ASHEVILLE, NC – The SLRC is investigating reports from several sources that a member of a Tennessee-based roofing crew doing work at Asheville High School was made to remove a decorative Confederate battle flag license plate from his personal vehicle.

According to eyewitness reports, the foreman of the work crew from Eskola Roofing Company of Morristown, TN, was approached by an unidentified member of the Asheville High School maintenance department, given a screwdriver and told the crew foreman to have the driver of the vehicle with the Confederate tag remove the tag or shut the entire job down.

However, in an e-mail to Southern Heritage 411 President H. K. Edgerton, Asheville City Schools Superintendent Allen Johnson denied that such an ultimatum was issued.  Instead, Johnson said, the Asheville High employee told the Eskola foreman he “had a concern about possible vandalism to the van [which displayed the Battle Flag]”  Johnson quoted the foreman as saying “I gave direction to the driver of the van to remove the tag with his own tools.  At no time did [the Asheville High staffer] tell me to remove the tag or shut the job down.”

“While Board policies and contract requirements do set out acceptable behavior of outside contractors when they are on school property, the display of a Confederate flag vanity license plate is nowhere addressed or regulated,” Johnson admitted.

Harvard Memorial Committee Chairman
Visits SLRC, discusses strategy

Patrick B. O’Neal, Chairman of the SLRC’s Harvard Confederate Memorial Initiative Committee, recently spent two days at the SLRC offices exploring ways and means of bringing pressure to bear on the Harvard administration to erect an on-campus memorial to its 71 alumni who died fighting for the Confederacy.

Committee membership is still being extended, and consists of both Harvard alumni (such as O”Neal himself, who is a Harvard Law graduate) and “laymen.”  The overall strategy is to work through selected Harvard alumni chapters and on a one-to-one basis with key Harvard personnel to reintroduce the Confederate memorial idea, which was originally floated at Harvard in the 1980’s but was subsequently shelved following vehement protests from minority student associations and some faculty and administrators, including the then president of the University.

The SLRC designed a HCMI lapel pin and blazer badge for use in its grassroots campaign, and has been offering them as bonus premiums to new or existing SLRC members who contribute at the level of $75 or more.  At present, the SLRC still has about 100 of these beautiful enamel pins and embroidered blazer patches on hand before having to reorder, and is making them available on a first-come, first-served basis to both new and existing members.  For a look at the HCMI logo, as well as an SLRC membership application form, please visit the SLRC website,