Created on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SPRINGBORO, Ohio (AP) — A southwest Ohio man who unfurled a Confederate battle flag at a school board meeting says he was trying to make a point about history. Others say his move was offensive.
Sonny Thomas insists his message was misinterpreted, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/10Xs8Fo ) reported. He showed the flag at a recent Springboro board of education meeting in response to the board's backing off an earlier plan to offer a constitutional class with a religious theme. He says the flag means heritage to many people in the South and that he meant to educate and inform.
"People automatically skewed it to being racist," Thomas said.
The Rev. Damon Lynch Jr. of Cincinnati, a civil rights leader, said Thomas' use of the flag without considering its racial overtones shows his ignorance.
"The flag represents slavery, and he needs to inquire a little more into what the flag has meant," Lynch said.
Kelly Kohls, president of the Springboro school board and a Warren County tea party leader, said she was surprised by Thomas' actions and comments at the meeting last week.
"I didn't get his message, if he had one in there," she said, adding that the board couldn't restrict public comments in meetings.
Thomas calls himself the head of the Springboro tea party. Other tea party activists distanced themselves from him three years ago after he went on a social media rant against Hispanics.