An Oregon school bus driver was fired earlier this month because he refused to remove a Confederate flag from the back of his pickup truck. On March 17, he filed a lawsuit against his former employer claiming that the termination is a violation of his free speech rights.
According to The Associated Press, Ken Webber claims that the flag, which is adorned with the word "redneck," is an expression of his cultural identity and not a message of racism. However, the Phoenix-Talent School District had asked Webber to remove the flag because it could be offensive to minorities.
"My flag will fly," said Webber, quoted by the White Mountain Independent. "No one here is going to tell me what I can and can't believe in."
The 28-year-old was suspended on two separate occasions after failing to take the flag down, and then fired by school bus contractor First Student Inc. on March 8. His lawsuit, which was filed at the United States District Court in Medford, Ore., requests that he be reinstated and receive back pay.
Webber has pointed out several contradictions regarding freedom of speech that exist at his former school. He said that some cars in the parking lot have bumper stickers supporting the military, gay rights and President Barack Obama.
He added that the institution's mascot is a pirate, which could be construed as offensive because of the recent pirate attacks that led to the deaths of four Americans. Webber said that it is unlikely the school would change its mascot yet he can't display a flag "that's not hurting anybody," quoted by the news provider.