Remember that teacher that stomped on the American flag in class and claimed it was a lesson in free speech?
Cumberland County history teacher Lee Francis is out of a job after superintendent Frank Till Jr. recommended the school board not renew his teaching contract for next school year, the Fayetteville Observer reports.
Till sent a letter to Francis on March 10, thanking him for his services, which he wrote are no longer needed at Massey Hill Classical High School.
“Based upon the recommendation of your principal, I have decided to recommend that our Board of Education not renew your contract for the 2017-18 school year,” the letter read. “It is important that I share with you the reason(s) for the nonrenewal of your employment contract and to note that the decision to not offer you a contract was not arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, for personal or political reason, or any biased prohibited by state or federal law.”
Till wrote the decision was based on “performance concerns regarding your ability to follow policies and procedures” with no further explanation, according to the news site.
The decision ultimately convinced Francis – who was removed from the classroom following the incident and placed on work duty in a warehouse – to submit his resignation March 21.
Francis sparked outrage in the community last September when a student took a picture of him standing on a crumbled American flag in class during a lesson on the First Amendment and the Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson, which ruled flag degradation as a protected free speech.
Students told the media Francis stomped on the flag two or three times in front of dozens of students, after first asking them for a lighter or scissors to destroy it.
Two students walked on out the lesson, and one of them brought the flag to Principal Pamela Adams “to be properly taken care of,” the Observer reports.
Till suspended Francis for 10 days without pay and the teacher initially attempted to fight back against the punishment with a social justice protest and appeal to the school board, which upheld the suspension in December.
Francis had been working in the warehouse since November, WECT reports.
Flag desecration is a misdemeanor in North Carolina, but Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West declined to charge Francis with a crime, citing federal law that overrules the state statute.