Board upholds suspension for NC teacher who stepped on American flag

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina school board upheld the 10-day suspension of a high school history teacher who stepped on the American flag during a First Amendment lesson.

On Wednesday, the Cumberland County Board of Education voted 5-2 to support Superintendent Frank Till’s decision, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

In the Sept. 19 incident, Lee Francis was teaching about Texas v. Johnson, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that flag desecration is a protected speech. He said he stepped on the flag several times with his right foot.

“Clearly, there are other ways to teach First Amendment rights without desecrating the flag,” Till said in a statement in September.

Now, the decision on whether Francis can return to the classroom rests on Till’s shoulders.

Though the majority of the board favored the suspension, Vice Chairman Carrie Sutton thought the situation was overdone.

“I believe the whole thing was blown out of proportion, and I want strong African-American teachers who are innovative and creative,” she said. “Was this the best judgment? No, it wasn’t. We don’t always make the best judgments.”

After the initial incident, a photo of Francis’ lesson spread across social media.