Once again, the American Flag is a hot button issue.
A teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina was suspended after teaching his students about the First Amendment and stepping on the flag in the process. During the lesson, he cited Texas v. Johnson, a case where burning the flag was declared a form of symbolic speech. When he went to prove this point, things got ugly.
Francis told CBS North Carolina, “I put it on the ground and I used my right foot and I took two steps on it, and immediately two kids get out of the room.” Fayetteville is home to military bases, including Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield. Many of the residents, including students at the school, have ties to the military in some way.
Alex Dunn took this photo, then picked up the flag and walked out of the classroom. pic.twitter.com/V19UmSTKVM
— Lou Guilette (@LouGuilette) September 20, 2016
An image featuring one of the offended students and Francis started circulating online. There’s a clear shot of the teacher standing with the flag at his feet. From that point on, the school felt they had no choice but to investigate and put Francis on paid administrative leave.
Contrary to what some people think, Francis doesn’t hate the flag, the military, or the United States.
“Just because I step on the flag doesn’t mean I step on their graves,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I step on their bodies as they return from overseas. It means I step on a piece of fabric.” He has since hired an attorney.
This is another example of the flag itself meaning more to some than the rights it represents.