Standing under a “Responsibility” motivation poster in his classroom, a first-year history teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina was photographed by a student with his foot on an American flag during a lesson on the First Amendment. The student posted the photo to Facebook:
Todd Starnes interviewed the teacher, Lee Francis, and asked if he regrets desecrating the flag:
“Do I regret what I did? Absolutely not. Would I do it again? All I can say is I did it and I stand by it.”
Francis told Starnes he would like to see the student punished for taking the photo and has obtained legal counsel to see if it violates county policy or if he can claim “defamation of character” since the photo has gone viral:
“I believe that child does need to be punished in some way – absolutely. I can’t take a picture of them and in turn they cannot do the same of me.”
“I don’t personally blame the children,” Francis added. “This is exactly what America is about. This is exactly what freedom of speech is about – freedom of protest. You stand up for what you believe in. Whether or not I agree is not really the point.”
Fayetteville is near Fort Bragg, and many angry comments are coming in from military families, but the teacher said it wasn’t meant to offend the military, a similar defense NFL star Colin Kaepernick has stated during his national anthem protests.
“That was not the goal, that was not the point of the lesson,” Francis said. “For me, it was about the First Amendment, teaching about the Bill of Rights, the beginning of what we call America.”
School superintendent Frank Till, Jr. weighed in saying, “There are other ways to teach First Amendment rights without desecrating a flag.” The teacher said he agreed with that statement but offered no remorse for his actions.
“Maybe the flag-stomping teacher would feel more at home in the NFL,” Starnes quipped in his story.