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Confederate flag case leads to second suspension

By Christine Byers
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
01/11/2007

FARMINGTON — A student's gesture to support his friend --who was suspended from Farmington High School for wearing a cap and T-shirt with the Confederate flag — landed him a suspension of his own Wednesday.

Robert Scaggs, 15, got a one-day suspension after he disobeyed Associate Principal Susan Barber's request to turn a T-shirt with the words, "The south was right, the school was wrong," inside out, according to a disciplinary note issued by the district.

Robert said: "I care about my friend, and I wanted to stick up for him. And I'm from the South, too, and the rebel flag has more than one meaning. The school is taking it as only slavery and trying to take away my freedom."

District officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. Advertisement

Robert's best friend, Bryce Archambo, 14, was suspended for one day in September and has since withdrawn from the school. He is suing the district in federal court, alleging it violated his right to free speech.

The two plan to protest Robert's suspension from 7 to 8 a.m. today in front of Farmington High School with friends, relatives and other supporters.

Robert wore the shirt Wednesday as he passed out fliers advertising a rally Bryce has planned for 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Centene Center. The event will feature speakers such as H.K. Edgerton, a black man who has walked more than 1,300 miles carrying a Confederate flag to raise awareness for his Southern heritage, and Quint E. Lacy, from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, as well as Bryce's lawyer, Robert Herman, who has represented numerous groups on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union.