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Confederate Flag Flap Brings One-Man Protest To School

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.