A Fayetteville, North Carolina teacher has been placed under paid administrative leave after stepping on the American flag during class while teaching a lesson about free speech.
Lee Francis was teaching his American History class at Massey Hill Classical High School about Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated laws in 48 states that prohibited desecration of the American flag. While teaching the lesson, Lee took an American flag, put it on the floor and stomped on it.
According to a Facebook user that claimed to be a mother of a student in the class, Francis also asked students for a lighter or scissors. When no one responded, he stepped on the floor between “two and three” times.
Francis is scheduled to meet with Cumberland County School District officials on Thursday to discuss the incident.
“It’s really disconcerting,” Francis said, according to the Fayetteville Observer. “My question to everyone is who is entitled to freedom of speech? Does everyone have access to freedom of speech? It’s unfortunate that all this has happened.”
“Why would an American want to do something like that? Why would a social studies teacher do something like that?” one student said to ABC 11 in Raleigh.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.