I was saddened when I read an Associated Press report published in today’s Southeast Missourian (“Court sides with Mo. School in rebel flag dispute”). After a long fight, Bryce Archambo lost his appeal in a previous court ruling which stated that Farmington High school was justified in suspending Archambo, for wearing Confederate themed apparel.
The AP report stated:
“ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri school district had the right to suspend a student who wore a baseball cap depicting the Confederate flag, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis said schools may restrict First Amendment free-speech rights “in certain limited circumstances.”
Bryce Archambo was a 14-year-old freshman when he was suspended from Farmington High School in September 2006, after wearing a baseball cap depicting the Confederate flag with the words, “C.S.A. Rebel Pride, 1861.” A day later, he was sent home again, this time after wearing a T-shirt and belt buckle depicting the rebel flag”
Shortly after this incident, the Southeast Missourian published a Letter to the Editor on November 27, 2006 that I had submitted which stated, (in part) …
“To the editor: I commend freshman Bryce Archambo for deciding to file suit against Farmington High School.
According to the Nov. 23 Southeast Missourian:
“An assistant superintendent told Archambo’s father his son was prohibited from wearing anything with a Confederate flag ‘due to the alleged inherent racism that such insignia sends.'”
However, Oct. 17 news report by KMOV-TV states:
“Archambo’s father insists the family is not racist. His oldest daughter is married to an African-American. And he, a minister, performed the wedding ceremony.”
Which means that the real discrimination was perpetrated by Farmington High School, not Bryce Archambo.”
On January 26, 2007 a rally was held in Farmington to show support for Bryce and to raise money for his coming legal battle.
I was invited to speak and had the honor of sharing the stage with Mr. Dewey Barber , founder of the “Dixie Outfitters” line of clothing , H.K. Edgerton, an African-American Southern Heritage activist Mr. Terry Warren , an American-Indian singer songwriter and Mr. Gary Ayres, Commander of the John T. Coffee Camp#1934, Missouri Sons of Confederate Veterans.
I began my speech with the following words:
“In January 1864, General Patrick Cleburne wrote a letter to the Commanding General of the Army of Tennessee. In it, he warned what would happen if the South lost the war, in which it was fighting for its Liberty and Independence.
It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision”
Cleburne’s words were prophetic, only now it seems that students who attempt to honor their heritage are “fit objects for derision” as well.
Though defeated (for now) Bryce Archambo should hold his head up high, the simple fact of the matter is that students are our future leaders and in this day and age there is no shortage of voters who complain about unprincipled politicians.
The question is; what kind of message are we sending to our future leaders who are punished for refusing to compromise their principles?