Attorney for flag-stomping SC teacher says story incomplete, pink slip undeserved

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Career prospects have taken a turn for the worse for Scott Compton, the South Carolina honors English teacher who allegedly threw an American flag on the floor and stomped on it in front of his students — in three different class periods during a single day last month.

Compton, a seven-year teaching veteran of Chapin High School who is currently on paid leave, now faces dismissal.

On Monday, the Lexington-Richland 5 school board will decide his fate. Superintendent Stephen Hefner has recommended a pink slip.

“The actions that occurred are unprofessional and not consistent with the standards of our district,” Hefner told The State, a Palmetto State newspaper.

As the New York Daily News notes, the school is only a short drive from the Fort Jackson, a United States Army installation where approximately half the country’s combat training occurs. Many residents of the community are veterans, including Hefner.

Michael Copeland, a concerned Chapin High School parent, explained to area-NBC affiliate WIS that Compton’s antics occurred during lessons on symbolism.

“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,” Copeland said.

Compton’s attorney, Darryl D. Smalls, has argued that reportage of the incident has been unfair to his client. In an email to WIS, the area NBC affiliate, Smalls suggested that Compton wanted to demonstrate that the United States is an “inspirational idea” that is greater than any representation of it.

“He made only positive comments about America throughout this lesson,” Smalls wrote. “The version of events currently circulating is incomplete.”

“He meant no intentional disrespect to those men and women who served our country or to America itself,” Smalls added, noting that many of Compton’s relatives were service members. 

“Many people have rushed to vilify my client based on one segment of the story related through a secondhand account,” the attorney continued. “My client has had an exemplary 12-year teaching career, and was only trying to create a forum for discussion using a powerful symbol with which all his students would be familiar.”

A Daily Caller reader claiming to have been one of Compton’s students posted in the comments section of an article on the subject that Compton was an effective instructor.

“Mr. Compton was by far my favorite teacher,” wrote disqus_MPid0dgbfD. “He actually cared about his students and wanted us to learn the literature and love it as much as he does. He was simply proving a point. Where are American flags made? Most of them, China. The idea of the flag represents freedom and honor to all Americans but a simple piece of cloth made in another country is simply that…a piece of cloth. In no way was he an ‘anti-American.'”

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