FOX News Radio
A South Carolina school district has launched an investigation into a high school teacher who allegedly threw an American flag on the floor and stomped on it as a classroom full of students watched.
Mark Bounds, a spokesman for the Lexington-Richland5 School District, confirmed to Fox News that an English teacher at Chapin High School was placed on leave as they investigate the incident.
"There were allegations that at a teacher took a flag down from the post in the classroom and stepped on that flag as part of the lesson," Bounds said, indicating the act was repeated in several other classes. "It was not a spontaneous act, but one he worked into the lesson."
He said there was "sufficient evidence that the teacher needed to be put on administrative leave and a full investigation needed to take place."
Bounds said they could not provide additional information because it was a personnel matter – but he stressed that the school district took the matter extremely seriously.
"We have a very patriotic community with many military veterans," he said. "Fort Jackson, the largest training base in the world is part of our community and you can see why this is especially important."
Michael Copeland's daughter was in the classroom when the incident occurred. He told television station WIS that the teacher's actions were disrespectful and unpatriotic.
"He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, 'What does this represent' and everybody said 'Christianity,'" Copeland said. "Then he proceeds to take down the American flag and said, 'This is a symbol, but it's only a piece of cloth. It doesn't mean anything,' and then he throws it down on the floor and then stomps on it, repeatedly"...
Bounds, who served 20 years in the military, stressed the seriousness of the incident.
"So many of our veterans have made sacrifices for that flag," he said. "We still have men and women deployed in service to our country and we do take this very seriously."
"We want to make sure our classrooms are unbiased of teacher's personal opinions," he said. "By the same token we want to give the teacher every opportunity to demonstrate what was going on the classroom at that time."
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/09/2013
Editor's Note: Does this teacher have the "right" to trample the flag? As a private citizen, sadly, yes, he does. It is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. But as a teacher he has a duty to the community to act in a manner that honors the community's public trust; a trust that reflects the morality and ethics of the community he serves. That means he was absolutely in the wrong in his service to a predominantly military community by disrespecting a symbol many in that community have fought to defend...Incidentally, along with the right to free speech comes the rest of the community's right to recognize this teacher as an a**hole...
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