Fayetteville teacher suspended for flag lesson on 1st amendment
A Cumberland County high school teacher has been suspended after he stepped on an American flag as part of a history lesson on Monday.
A photo posted on Facebook shows Lee Francis, a history teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, standing over an American flag at the front of the class.
Francis has been suspended with pay in connection with the incident until he meets with Superintendent Dr. Frank Till on Thursday.
Francis, who has relatives in the military, said he did not intend to offend students, but wanted to drive home the Supreme Court's definition of free speech.
As a result of the decision by Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till, Jr. to suspend Francis and remove him from the classroom, Francis’ future as an educator was left in limbo.
Now, after two and a half months and nine hours of testimony, we finally have a decision from the Cumberland County school board on his fate.
The school board upheld the educator’s 10-day suspension without pay as punishment for stepping on the American flag in a 5 – 2 vote. Francis told Martin the school board members in attendance voted along racial lines.
According to Francis, two African-American school board members were not present for the hearing or vote for undisclosed reasons and the board only heard testimony from a student who objected to the in-class demonstration.
Upon the completion of Francis’ 10-day suspension, he will return to working in the warehouse until the end of the year.
Francis said, “He’s [Superintendent Till] made it clear for the last several weeks that he has no intention to try to put me back into the classroom.”
As for his teachers’ license, that continues to be an unresolved issue. “We have not had any response” from the school’s superintendent about the status of his license, he revealed. “I am in complete limbo.”
If you are interested in supporting Francis during his suspension, please visit his GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/31rjvuw.