Flag-stomping South Carolina teacher appeals his firing

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The South Carolina English teacher who was fired stomping on an American flag in front of his students — in three different class periods — wants his job back.

Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton had no intention to be disrespectful, his attorney Darryll Smalls has said. Instead, says Smalls, Compton threw the flag on the floor and stomped on it to demonstrate that the United States is a noble idea greater than any symbols representing it.

The seven-member Lexington-Richland 5 school board didn’t buy the argument, though. The board agreed with Superintendent Stephen Hefner’s recommendation that Compton should be sacked.

Compton is now asking the board to overturn the firing, reports The State, a regional newspaper.

The embattled teacher is seeking a closed-door session for the appeal hearing. A private hearing is necessary, maintains Smalls, “due to the threats and intimidation directed toward him and subsequently to his family and supporters.”

“A public hearing would only add to the emotional nature in which many people are viewing this story,” Smalls told The State.

Outrage in the local community was widespread when news of Compton’s antics first became public last month. Chapin High’s location, only a short drive from the Fort Jackson, a United States Army installation where about half the country’s combat training occurs, did not work in Compton’s favor.

Superintendent Hefner counted himself among the offended. “The actions that occurred are unprofessional and not consistent with the standards of our district,” he told The State.

Many others agreed.

“Based on this person’s actions, this teacher is not a role model for my children,” said one local parent, according to WAFF, an Alabama NBC affiliate. “And is the epitome of who I don’t want my children to grow up to be.”

Compton’s defenders include family members and some prior students. At least a few journalists have stood up for his unusual teaching methods as well.

“It’s a lesson that patriots should be embracing, not vilifying,” pontificated Myrtle Beach’s Sun News. “Those so quick to excoriate Compton should remember some of the very values that flag represents, with freedom of expression high on that list.”

Still other locals are plenty mad about what Compton did, notes The State, but think a pink slip may be too harsh.

“Everybody in my circle is upset he did this,” said Randy Stevens of Patriot Guard Riders, a group that provides motorcycle escorts at military funerals. “We have some who say it was boneheaded, but to let it go.”

The school board will decide as soon as Monday when to hear the appeal, school district spokesperson Mark Bounds told The State.

Compton remains on leave with pay pending the outcome of the appeal, according to The State.

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