National News

Jan 11, 2013 5:08 PM by NBC News

Flag stomping teacher might be terminated

(WIS) The superintendent of a South Carolina school district has decided to recommend that a teacher be terminated after allegedly throwing down the American flag and stomping on it in front of his classes.

Lexington-Richland School District Five spokesperson Mark Bounds said the district's investigation into the matter is over.

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hafter will soon make the recommendation to the school board to fire Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton.

The district placed Compton on administrative leave after parents characterized his lessons as disrespectful and unpatriotic.

When Michael Copeland overheard his teenager talking about what her honors II English teacher did with the flag in their classroom, he pressed for details.

"He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, 'What does this represent,' and everybody said, 'Christianity,'" said Copeland. "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."

Compton repeated the lesson in three classes that day, prompting a full investigation.

"I asked what was he trying to get, the point across? And she said, 'I don't know,' and he said, his explanation was there would be no consequences, it's just a piece of cloth that doesn't mean anything."

But there are consequences.

"Our superintendent served in the military, I served in the military for 20 years, our flag is a symbol of our freedom, and so many people have fought and died for that liberty, and so we take this action very seriously," said Mark Bounds, a spokesperson for Lexington-Richland 5.

Compton repeated the lesson in three classes that day, prompting a full investigation. After an unrelated incident at Dutch Fork where a teacher was suspended for a political sign in her room, officials say teachers know better.

"There is a code of ethics for teachers that talks about professional conduct, and then we tell our teachers that their personal opinion is their personal opinion and shouldn't be brought into the classroom, and so we caution them all the time," said Bounds.

Copeland believes telling students the 50 stars symbolize the 50 states, the red and white stripes, symbolize the original 13 colonies might have been a better way.

"He totally ignored what I consider what would have been an excellent teaching point to just simply throw the flag down and show no respect to it at all and to the people that it means a whole lot to," said Copeland.The class was told they'd have a permanent replacement for Compton for the remainder of the year.

District officials would not say if Compton is still receiving pay.

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