Oregon Bus Driver Fired Over Confederate Flag

Erin - posted on 03/10/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

1,278

0

139

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/10/ore...

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- An Oregon school bus driver fired after he refused to remove a Confederate battle flag flying from his pickup truck has enlisted the help of a conservative civil liberties group in hopes of getting his job back.



The Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Va., sent a letter Wednesday to First Student Bus Transportation Services demanding that Ken Webber of Medford be reinstated. The institute said flying the flag on the pickup truck while it was parked at the bus yard was protected by Webber's First Amendment right to free speech.



"These are important free speech issues," institute President John Whitehead said from Virginia. "We are facing a crisis in this country of political correctness."



First Student spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian did not immediately respond to a telephone call and e-mail for comment.



Webber said he was fired Tuesday for gross insubordination after refusing for the second time to take the flag off his CB antenna while parked in the bus yard in Talent, which is owned by the Phoenix-Talent School District.



"The flag's flying," he said from Medford.



Phoenix-Talent schools Superintendent Ben Bergreen had demanded the flag be removed from school property, citing a policy prohibiting symbols that could be offensive to minorities.



Bergreen said he had received a copy of the letter, but did not want to comment, because there might be a lawsuit.



Married with four children, Webber has maintained the flag is not a political or racist statement, but an expression of his "redneck" identity, also expressed in a tattoo on his left arm.



"We're doing the best we can," Webber said of the financial hardship the loss of his job means to his family. "I must say, my 8-year-old makes me proud. She took my picture from the Mail Tribune (newspaper) to school for show and tell. She was telling the kids in her class, `This is my dad standing up for what he believes in and I'm proud of him for that."'



In the letter to the school bus company, Rutherford attorney Douglas R. McKusick cited a 2002 federal court ruling that upheld the right of a city worker in Kansas to display a vanity license plate on his truck with a Confederate battle flag and the words, "Heritage, Not Hate," while parked at work.



In another case last November, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of a Tennessee school district to suspend a student for wearing a T-shirt and belt buckle bearing the image of the Confederate battle flag.



Thoughts?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Pamela - posted on 04/14/2011

1,496

104

45

That could be. Perhaps he doesn't fully comprehend what this particular flag stands for. But he would be wise to investigate it prior to flying it.

Charlie - posted on 03/10/2011

11,203

111

409

Well the nazi symbol is actually an ancient symbol the very word is sanskrit for svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix.

It only had good and positive connotations until the Nazis used it , would it be ok if I flew a flag with a SVASTIKA on a bus , in a classroom , in my office would free speech protect my rights then ?

As far as I can tell free speech is being used more and more to protect people spewing hatred .

[deleted account]

The Confederate flag represents the Confederate States of America which is the "country" that was created by the Southern states during the American Civil War. Okay, I'm sure we all know that. The flag in itself is not the problem. The problem lies in the fact after the war was over, racist groups like the KKK continued to use the flag to represent themselves. There is so much history that would take a long time to explain, but in short...most southern white people see the Confederate flag as part of their Southern heritage. Black southern people see it as a racist symbol...and rightly so after the groups that have used it to represent themselves. I don't own any of these flags. There are some original flags in the museum my dad used to run. I am proud of my heritage (mostly), but I understand that this particular symbol represents hatred to many. There are other ways to express my pride in my heritage than to use a controversial symbol.

However, I feel this man is within his rights of free speech to have this flag. He certainly is within the law in my opinion.

Charlie - posted on 03/10/2011

11,203

111

409

He is at work if they do not want their place of buisness affilliated with or represented as or linked to the confederate flag they have every right to act IMO same goes for buisness or school with a dress code .

[deleted account]

I actually have no problem touching this one.

I totally support anyone that wants to fly the confederate flag, the US flag or even the US flag upside down. They were and are flags from the US and it's history. The confederate flag is a part of our heritage and though most people only know half of why we went to war freeing the slaves wasn't the only reason. We also went to war on if the government would have the right to tax us as citizens. Most people either don't know this or just think that is a sad second to freeing the slaves. I think they are equal. We traded one slavery for another. We freed slaves and turned all of the US into slaves to the government and their desire to tax us. I for one support anyone that wants to fly the Confederate flag & the current US flag. Both are flags of the United State's history and should deserve the same respect as anyone else flying flags of different countries.
IMO

17 Comments

View replies by

Stifler's - posted on 04/14/2011

15,141

154

604

I still don't know why people need to parade their political agenda around.

Pamela - posted on 04/14/2011

1,496

104

45

He didn't display it on the bus. It was apparently on his truck which was parked in the business parking lot.

Stifler's - posted on 04/14/2011

15,141

154

604

Perhaps he needs a lecture in professionalism. Since when are bus drivers allowed to use the school bus to display their political agenda? People should just fuck off with their *I'm standing up for what I believe in* and *freedom of speech*. Good on you, do it in your own time.

Janessa - posted on 04/14/2011

444

38

28

I am a Canadian also but I have read allot about slavery around the world. I know for a fact majority of blacks and mintories do not like this flag it brings painful memories of there ancestors that were murdered and hate that happened to them. So that guy does not deserved to keep his job if he is not following code. If it was on his property then he has the right. I am not sure why white people thanks it is ok maybe if that happen to your ancestors you would feel differently.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/14/2011

2,620

0

462

Well, I'm not really up on everything the Confederate flag means, seeing as I'm Canadian. All I know is that around here, if you want to make a character in a skit or parade or something who is meant to be racist and ignorant, they slap a confederate flag on it. It's like a swastika, only slightly less scary, because the bad guys are assumed to be painfully stupid. So that's what I think of when I see one. It makes me very nervous when I visit my cousins in Texas!

Canadians are really insulting when it comes to our neighbours, I don't know why. Not good.

Pamela - posted on 04/14/2011

1,496

104

45

If he were flying it on the bus, then I'd say fire his backside. But if it's on his personal property then I think that's an overreach of authority. I don't agree with his point of view at all - I find the Confederate flag to be incredibly offensive (I do know its history - particularly this specific flag which was used as a symbol of anti-civil rights during the civil rights movement) but if it's on his truck, he has the right to have it. A bit of info on this flag:

The Confederate battle flag, called the "Southern Cross" or the cross of St. Andrew, has been described variously as a proud emblem of Southern heritage and as a shameful reminder of slavery and segregation. In the past, several Southern states flew the Confederate battle flag along with the U.S. and state flags over their statehouses. Others incorporated the controversial symbol into the design of their state flags. The Confederate battle flag has also been appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern Cross as one of their symbols.

I don't have a problem with folks wanting to proudly claim their heritage. But perhaps another symbol would be more appropriate than the Confederate flag. If white supremacists groups and the KKK are claiming as their own, I would be extremely cautious in embracing that flag.

Read more: Confederate Flag Controversy — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/confedera...

[deleted account]

I don't think he's right. I just think he has the right.

If I'm not mistaken (and I very well could be, so correct me if I'm wrong) there was just a ruling protecting the extreme protesting at the funeral of soldiers. If that is protected under our constitution, them I'm sure flying a confederate flag on your personal property is also protected...as I'm sure the svastika is. Doesn't make it right...

Michele - posted on 03/10/2011

238

2

16

I am from the south and have some redneck (and proud of it) family. I don't really have a problem with the Confederate flag. However, I do think that a business has a right to make rules about certain things. CA is an at-will state so you can be fired for just about anything that is not federally mandated. They certainly can't tell him he can't have it elsewhere, but not at the place of business. But can they police personal cars? If so, could they fire someone for a bumper sticker? I don't know - I am leaning towards him being able to put what he wants on his personal car or his body (tattoo). But sometimes businesses won't hire someone with a tattoo either. Does that limit free speech?

Rosie - posted on 03/10/2011

8,657

30

321

well, i would need to be a little more versed on the laws of that particular school parkinglot.does it clearly state not to have offensive symbols like that or is it just assumed?
the flag is used as a hillbilly redneck sign (dukes of hazzard anyone) so i can believe that it's not racist in nature. i think he has every right to display it if it's not written in the schools policy.

Krista - posted on 03/10/2011

12,562

16

847

I'd love to debate it, but it's one of those topics that I'm actually reluctant to touch, due to really not knowing enough about the history of the Confederate flag and its implications.

My first instinct is to say that where this was the second time and he'd already received a warning...well, he made his choice, I guess.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms