- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A history teacher in North Carolina is facing backlash after he reportedly stomped on the U.S. flag as part of a lesson on free speech.

A parent’s Facebook picture showing Lee Francis standing over a crumpled flag in his class at Massey Hill Classical High School has gone viral with more than 10,000 shares, The Fayetteville Observer reported.

Sara Taylor, whose child attends Massey Hill but is not enrolled in Mr. Francis’ class, wrote that the teacher first asked students for a lighter or scissors to destroy the flag.

“When there were no scissors he took the flag and stomped all over it. He is saying this was teaching First Amendment rights,” Ms. Taylor wrote.

“I called the Principal Dr. [Pamela] Adams and asked her why he couldn’t have talked about it and not actually disrespect the flag like that and she completely stood up for him,” Ms. Taylor added.

Cumberland County Superintendent Frank Till Jr. told The Observer that he learned of the incident Tuesday morning, but he’s waiting to gather all the facts before determining if any action should be taken against the teacher.

“I don’t want to make any comments until I get it sorted all out,” Mr. Till said.

He did say, however, that he thinks there are better ways to teach students about flag desecration than giving an in-class demonstration.

“There are multiple examples of people doing something like that and being protected,” Mr. Till said. “There are a lot of examples in archives we could use that were appropriate.”

Mr. Francis said he needed to consult with his supervisor before commenting to the media, but he has defended himself on his Facebook page, The Observer reported.

He wrote that he was teaching the class about the First Amendment, specifically the Supreme Court decision in Texas v. Johnson that invalidated laws prohibiting desecration of the U.S. flag.

“The rest of the class understood. I don’t even teach the student of this Sara Taylor person,” Mr. Francis wrote, The Observer reported.


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