Flag stomping pays off big for South Carolina teacher
Scott Compton, a high school English teacher in Chapin, South Carolina, lost his job last December after stomping on an American flag in front of three different classrooms. He sued and hit the jackpot, as he’ll be enjoying a sweet $85,000 settlement plus his full salary paid through June 7, as part of a settlement deal.
But wait, taxpayers of South Carolina, there’s more! You’ll also be paying for his $31,500 in legal fees, according to The State. The district “admitted no liability in seeking to fire Compton” as part of the settlement. Well, of course not! The taxpayers get all the liability.
WISTV covered the flag-stomping controversy in January:
The district placed Compton on administrative leave after parents characterized his lessons as disrespectful and unpatriotic.
When Michael Copeland overheard his teenager talking about what her honors II English teacher did with the flag in their classroom, he pressed for details.
“He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, ‘What does this represent,’ and everybody said, ‘Christianity,’” said Copeland.
“Then he proceeds to take down the American flag, and said, ‘This is a symbol, but it’s only a piece of cloth. It doesn’t mean anything,’ and then he throws it down on the floor and then stomps on it, repeatedly.”
“I asked what was he trying to get, the point across? And she said, ‘I don’t know,’ and he said, his explanation was there would be no consequences, it’s just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything.”
There was no way to make that point without stomping on the American flag? He couldn’t just show them “The Treachery of Images?” What a pitiful failure of imagination. It sure doesn’t sound like any of the kids watching Compton’s arrogant little temper tantrum learned anything from the experience. The price was steep, but at least the local parents know he’ll be kept away from their children.
It didn’t go over well with parents and other members of the community, which is located close to a major military base:
A retired Vietnam veteran, Tom Fincher with Chapin’s American Legion Post, told the crowd he would like for the board to consider allowing a flag disposal ceremony to take place at the school’s campus. He said that’s the only way to bring closure to the issue.
“We’re for anything that enhances respect for the American flag,” said Fincher. “That flag we served under, died under. It is more than a piece of cloth.”
Parents, on the other hand, said the closure they want to see is Compton removed from the classroom
“Based on this person’s actions, this teacher is not a role model for my children,” said one parent. “And is the epitome of who I don’t want my children to grow up to be.”
[...] “Our superintendent served in the military, I served in the military for 20 years, our flag is a symbol of our freedom, and so many people have fought and died for that liberty, and so we take this action very seriously,” said Mark Bounds, a spokesperson for Lexington-Richland 5.
Compton repeated the lesson in three classes that day, prompting a full investigation. After an unrelated incident at Dutch Fork where a teacher was suspended for a political sign in her room, officials say teachers know better.
“There is a code of ethics for teachers that talks about professional conduct, and then we tell our teachers that their personal opinion is their personal opinion and shouldn’t be brought into the classroom, and so we caution them all the time,” said Bounds.
Well, the joke’s on you, concerned parents of Chapin, because you’ll be out six figures to a teacher who hasn’t taught a class in six months. Isn’t our education system wonderful? All it really needs is more money and less accountability.
In March, there was a similar story about a Florida Atlantic University professor – who also turned out to be a Democrat Party official for Palm Beach County – making his students write the name of Jesus on a sheet of paper and then stomp on it, to make essentially the same silly “point.” I’ll offer them both the same challenge: try it with a picture of Mohammed, tough guys. I dare you. I double dog dare you. Or maybe you could just design lesson plans that discuss symbolism without indulging your little quirks and obsessions before a captive audience of students.