FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Fayetteville middle school teacher who stepped on an American flag during a First Amendment lesson said he has been suspended 10 days without pay.
Lee Francis, a teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School, was photographed stepping on the American flag in a classroom. But, he said, it was in the context of a lesson on freedom of speech.
Francis met with Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till for nearly an hour on Thursday about the incident.
Francis said Friday he has been suspended 10 days without pay. He was originally suspended 90 days with pay from the school district.
Francis said it is a shame that in 2016 “Freedom of Speech is still limited to what you may look like or what you may do.”
He said he will pursue legal action.
“We are very disappointed,” Lee’s lawyer said Friday. “Mr. Francis broke no laws.”
“I put it on the ground and I used my right foot and I took two steps on it, and immediately two kids get out of the room,” he said.
A number of Fayetteville residents denounced Francis’ actions, calling them unpatriotic.
“He’s teaching our children that it’s OK to stomp on a flag, and I served a year in Vietnam and I just don’t agree with his actions,” said Vietnam veteran David Phillips.
The teacher said he’s received hundreds of death threats since the incident occurred. They’ve come via his social media accounts, by phone, and through email, he said.