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SC Teacher Stomps on Flag During Lesson, Facing Termination - UPDATE 2: GOT DAT MONEY!!!

EYEL1NER 1,440 161 January 12, 2013 at 11:38 PM
So this is a couple days old and I was surprised that I didn't see (or may have missed) any discussion on the subject here.
FoxNewsInsider [foxnewsinsider.com]
Washington Times [washingtontimes.com]
Daily Caller [dailycaller.com]
WISTV Columbia [wistv.com]

The story is: An English teacher in a South Carolina school was teaching a lesson on symbolism. During his lesson (and other lessons that day), he allegedly threw a US Flag on the ground, said something along the lines of "This is a symbol of America. It is just cloth. This doesn't mean anything," and stomped on it. Students went home and complained to their parents, who immediately complained to the school. It looks like he has been suspended already and the superintendent is going to recommend he be fired to the board (I've seen claims that he has already been fired, but no sources or links have been provided).

I've read some opinions on it in a couple different places and was wondering what the thoughts were here.

I suppose I will state mine:
Absolutely ridiculous. He was teaching a lesson on symbolism and it obviously went right over the heads of his class and their parents (and this is supposed to be an honors class?! Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)). I fear that he was probably employed at will though and will not be able to fight it. His attorney claimed that "Compton wanted to demonstrate that the United States is an "inspirational idea" that is greater than any representation of it" and I believe that is an important lesson. He didn't say "**** you, America/Obama/Republicans/Tea Party/Whatever!!!" and stomp all over a flag (that was probably made in China), he had a point he tried to make about symbolism and hoped that there were critical thinkers in his class.
I read someone's comments who said that this isn't about not being offended, that the parents who got so angry "to the point of shaking" have the right to be offended. But after the offense, they should realize "Wow, I was offended. Huh, symbols ARE powerful."

I've read quite a bit of comments from veterans on Yahoo News or other places that allow comments, saying that they took an oath to defend the flag (the flag is not mentioned in the Oath of Enlistment at all) and that they would perpetrate violence on this man for doing this.
As a veteran myself: I have saluted the flag many times and since a law was passed recently that allows veterans to render a salute to the flag and during the National Anthem, I will continue to salute it. But this man's actions have not upset me at all. I never swore an oath in defense of the flag; I swore an oath in defense of the Constitution, which includes the First Amendment (which covers flag desecration). The ideals and beliefs that the flag represents are more important than the flag itself and the ideals and beliefs were not hurt or destroyed by this.



EDIT: I was hoping he wouldn't get fired, but I had a hard time finding any updates after the initial story broke. Apparently he did get fired, because he submitted his request for an appeal hearing to the school board. Update in post #178.

EDIT 2: Looks like he resigned in March, so he more than likely did not get fired. Anyway, kharvel provided an update in post 462:
Quote from kharvel View Post :
Here's an update:

http://news.yahoo.com/flag-stompi...22377.html

The U.S. CONSTITUTION HAS WON!!! Under the threat of A TORT LAWSUIT for "breach of contract, defamation and emotional distress", the SC Flag-Stomping Teacher has become $85,000 richer, not including the salary he has been receiving while suspended.

This is precisely why we need tort lawyers. They're the only people standing in the way between a lynch mob and the United States Constitution.

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#16
Quote from SigX View Post :
if you are going to do something that offends some people you should epect that some of those people will complain and you need to be able to deal with that. i dont have a problem with what he did per se, but it is not surprising that some are offended and complained. What an idiot.
I am not surprised that people complained or were offended and I imagine he wasn't surprised either. He was probably surprised that the principal or other teachers didn't have his back, that no one said "Look parents, I understand that you are upset. But the lesson plan was about 'X,' he did this to demonstrate 'X,' and the outrage perfectly proves the lesson and what he was trying to teach. Perhaps you should listen in on or read his lesson plan from the day and use it to talk to your children about what happened and what the flag means."

But then again, these are people who whine and complain about the great "War of Northern Aggression," support a franchise that flies Confederate flags above the restaurants and is ran by a white supremacist, and attaches ~10 foot long rebel flags to the back of their trucks so they can fly freely in the wind as the trucks tear down the highway (I will still never forget the night my buddy and I saw that guy while going back to base from Columbia). So I really shouldn't be surprised too much.

It is also a place where the people love the Fourth of July, because it gives people a chance to break out their American flag-print shirts, flag-print shorts, flag-print napkins, tablecloths, plates, etc (despite all of those things being against the flag code and being as disrespectful as stomping on the flag to those who take it really seriously) for their parties.


We'll have to disagree on it though: You think this guy is an idiot; I don't. I think blind worship of the flag (any flag) is idiotic.
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Quote from EscapeVelo View Post :
He should have used a Mexican flag, IMO.
Why not a confederate flag whose values and army were our enemies and defeated by us?

IMO, that is.
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Quote from SigX View Post :
if you are going to do something that offends some people you should epect that some of those people will complain and you need to be able to deal with that. i dont have a problem with what he did per se, but it is not surprising that some are offended and complained. What an idiot.
Stop making shit up. You don't know what he was thinking or what his impetus was for this. Perhaps he expected people to complain or wanted to create a controversy. We don't know. Until we do, stop imposing your own bias on the situation.
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Quote from EYEL1NER View Post :
I am not surprised that people complained or were offended and I imagine he wasn't surprised either. He was probably surprised that the principal or other teachers didn't have his back, that no one said "Look parents, I understand that you are upset. But the lesson plan was about 'X,' he did this to demonstrate 'X,' and the outrage perfectly proves the lesson and what he was trying to teach. Perhaps you should listen in on or read his lesson plan from the day and use it to talk to your children about what happened and what the flag means."

But then again, these are people who whine and complain about the great "War of Northern Aggression," support a franchise that flies Confederate flags above the restaurants and is ran by a white supremacist, and attaches ~10 foot long rebel flags to the back of their trucks so they can fly freely in the wind as the trucks tear down the highway (I will still never forget the night my buddy and I saw that guy while going back to base from Columbia). So I really shouldn't be surprised too much.

It is also a place where the people love the Fourth of July, because it gives people a chance to break out their American flag-print shirts, flag-print shorts, flag-print napkins, tablecloths, plates, etc (despite all of those things being against the flag code and being as disrespectful as stomping on the flag to those who take it really seriously) for their parties.


We'll have to disagree on it though: You think this guy is an idiot; I don't. I think blind worship of the flag (any flag) is idiotic.
your doing a good job of proving my point. If he is around the type of people that would get pissed off then he is twice as dumb as i suspect. I suppose this would be like stomping on an Islamic symbol in Iran or a symbol of Obama in Philly. IOW if your going to do this in front of people that you KNOW are going to get pissed, dont cry when they do get pissed. of course, my guess is that if he had done this to one of the above (my examples) this thread would have a different tone (maybe not your opinion but others).
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Quote from brbubba View Post :
Stop making shit up. You don't know what he was thinking or what his impetus was for this. Perhaps he expected people to complain or wanted to create a controversy. We don't know. Until we do, stop imposing your own bias on the situation.
what bias???? Um, what I am saying is fairly obvious. pissing off the parents of kids at your school is generally a bad idea if you want to keep your job.
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Seems like a great first amendment lesson popped up out of a lesson about symbolism.

These kids learned that the government wont stop this mans freedoms to express himself, but that doesnt mean that he is not responsible for his actions, and now the consequences of those actions are playing out.

Personally I think the act is disgusting and disrespectful, but I really dont think he should lose his job over it. I think the teacher and the school should use it as an opportunity to...*gasp* educate the kids. Show them that even the best intentioned actions can have terrible consequences, and that what you say and do should be considered carefully.
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Kyle: Dude! I almost thought those Afghani kids talked you into not liking America.
Stan: No, dude. America may have some problems, but it's our home. Our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium.
Kyle: Yeah.
Stan: <salutes the American flag> Go America.
Kyle: <salutes> Go America...
Stan: Go Broncos
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Quote from SigX View Post :
what bias???? Um, what I am saying is fairly obvious. pissing off the parents of kids at your school is generally a bad idea if you want to keep your job.
That's completely different than what you originally stated.
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Quote from LordOfChaos View Post :
Seems like a great first amendment lesson popped up out of a lesson about symbolism.

These kids learned that the government wont stop this mans freedoms to express himself, but that doesnt mean that he is not responsible for his actions, and now the consequences of those actions are playing out.

Personally I think the act is disgusting and disrespectful, but I really dont think he should lose his job over it. I think the teacher and the school should use it as an opportunity to...*gasp* educate the kids. Show them that even the best intentioned actions can have terrible consequences, and that what you say and do should be considered carefully.
I would agree with this. Maybe it's just me but I don't get how him teaching the kids symbolism and jumping on the flag should change one's viewpoint. If a firefighter lit a flag on fire and used it as an example of how to put out with a fire with a fire extinguisher I would expect there to be a similar amount of backlash as opposed to "oh, he's just showing us how to put out a fire, it's all good"...

Simple fact is that the American flag is a symbol of all that is American. It is your right to burn it, stomp it, etc. but it's also very dis-respectable and there are consequences that come with it.
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Quote from LivninSC View Post :
I would agree with this. Maybe it's just me but I don't get how him teaching the kids symbolism and jumping on the flag should change one's viewpoint. If a firefighter lit a flag on fire and used it as an example of how to put out with a fire with a fire extinguisher I would expect there to be a similar amount of backlash as opposed to "oh, he's just showing us how to put out a fire, it's all good"...
Is lighting the flag on fire & then extinguishing it one of the more effective ways of demonstrating how to put out a fire?

Is disrespecting the American flag one of the most effective means of communicating symbolic speech?

Quote :
Simple fact is that the American flag is a symbol of all that is American. It is your right to burn it, stomp it, etc. but it's also very dis-respectable and there are consequences that come with it.
Do you honestly think the teacher was trying to make a political statement through his actions? Or a teaching statement about the importance of symbols & symbolic speech?
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The teacher is obviously terrible at his job. The whole point of symbols is that they have greater meaning than they have intrinsically as objects. Looks like this teacher finally learned this lesson the hard way.

I would have less of a problem with him stomping on the flag and saying "You are probably getting angry, and while I'm not stomping on America, you see me stomping on a symbol of America. If I was stomping on some other piece of cloth, it probably wouldn't bother you. This is how objects used as symbols are imbued with more meaning than what they possess as a physical object."

Unfortunately this man is an idiot and not fit to be a teacher.
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Quote from Xygonn View Post :
The teacher is obviously terrible at his job. The whole point of symbols is that they have greater meaning than they have intrinsically as objects. Looks like this teacher finally learned this lesson the hard way.

I would have less of a problem with him stomping on the flag and saying "You are probably getting angry, and while I'm not stomping on America, you see me stomping on a symbol of America. If I was stomping on some other piece of cloth, it probably wouldn't bother you. This is how objects used as symbols are imbued with more meaning than what they possess as a physical object."

Unfortunately this man is an idiot and not fit to be a teacher.
Why do you believe he didn't say that? Or at least words to the same effect?
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Quote from smegalicious View Post :
Why do you believe he didn't say that? Or at least words to the same effect?
Reports are to the contrary. Reports are that he threw the flag on the ground stomped on it and said it was meaningless. That it was just a piece of colored cloth.

Maybe he was trying to get his students riled up by intentionally lying to them and making them think "OF COURSE IT HAS MEANING!". I don't know. Still a bad idea.
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Quote from Xygonn View Post :
The teacher is obviously terrible at his job. The whole point of symbols is that they have greater meaning than they have intrinsically as objects. Looks like this teacher finally learned this lesson the hard way.

I would have less of a problem with him stomping on the flag and saying "You are probably getting angry, and while I'm not stomping on America, you see me stomping on a symbol of America. If I was stomping on some other piece of cloth, it probably wouldn't bother you. This is how objects used as symbols are imbued with more meaning than what they possess as a physical object."

Unfortunately this man is an idiot and not fit to be a teacher.
I think something is missing here. SC is a very strong confederate and red and anti democratic state. I would investigate to see if this teacher had made other political statements in the past.
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Quote from Xygonn View Post :
Reports are to the contrary. Reports are that he threw the flag on the ground stomped on it and said it was meaningless. That it was just a piece of colored cloth.

Maybe he was trying to get his students riled up by intentionally lying to them and making them think "OF COURSE IT HAS MEANING!". I don't know. Still a bad idea.
The "reports" from the links in the OP are all from the same "concerned" parent -- a second-hand account at best.

From The Daily Caller link:

Compton's attorney, Darryl D. Smalls, has argued that reportage of the incident has been unfair to his client. In an email to WIS, the area NBC affiliate, Smalls suggested that Compton wanted to demonstrate that the United States is an "inspirational idea" that is greater than any representation of it.

"He made only positive comments about America throughout this lesson," Smalls wrote. "The version of events currently circulating is incomplete."

"He meant no intentional disrespect to those men and women who served our country or to America itself," Smalls added, noting that many of Compton's relatives were service members.

"Many people have rushed to vilify my client based on one segment of the story related through a secondhand account," the attorney continued. "My client has had an exemplary 12-year teaching career, and was only trying to create a forum for discussion using a powerful symbol with which all his students would be familiar."
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Quote from Xygonn View Post :
This is how objects used as symbols are imbued with more meaning than what they possess as a physical object."

Unfortunately this man is an idiot and not fit to be a teacher.

Because you don't think he very effectively taught his students the lesson you identified above?
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