FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — A North Carolina district attorney says he won’t prosecute a high school teacher for stepping on an American flag during a lesson on the First Amendment.
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West told The Fayetteville Observer on Wednesday that the state’s misdemeanor flag-desecration charges are unenforceable because a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling protects such actions.
Massey High Classical High School teacher Lee Francis says Monday’s history lesson was about that case, which determined flag-burning is a form of protected speech. Francis was put on paid administrative leave Tuesday.
News outlets have quoted students as saying that Francis asked for a lighter or scissors, and when no one produced them, he put the flag on the floor and stomped on it. Francis says he stepped on the flag several times with his right foot.