Flag Stomping at a South Carolina High School

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Flag Stomping at a South Carolina High School

Judging from the comments on last week's post about MIchael Moore, about a quarter of you think I am a communist, a quarter of you think I am a reactionary Republican, and 1/2 of you just hate Michael Moore.  I'm still a bit unclear how that post had anything to do with politics, which is what some of you said, but so it goes...To be honest, I don't ascribe Michael Moore's position to being either the left or the right more predominately.  Certainly it is understood that Mr. Moore is on the left, but his position there (about an Military Industrial Complex that is turning people into sheep) is one that I find just as often amongst a small subset on the right, the people I usually refer to as the "Smedley Butler wing."  Nonetheless, whether right, left, libertarian, vegetarian, rastafarian or any other group of people, I think saying that no one supports the troops is just wrong.  In my experience here, when you offer people an opportunity to help the troops, they usually come through for you. 

When we ran the COP Keating fund raiser, people came together from all sides and supported it to the tune of over $250,000.  I had conservative comentators like MIchelle Malkin supporting us, and in another fund raiser received a sizeable donation from San Francisco pitcher Barry Zito, who was affectionately nicknamed "Planet Zito" for his idiosyncratic ways.  I've known troops who received care packages from Ellen Degeneres while deployed, and I doubt anyone has ever accused her of being a right-wing Republican.  Nor Al Franken who has done seven USO tours, four of them to Iraq.  I've never believed that any political side held a sole and exclusive grip on supporting the troops.  I just know that whoever says we don't support them doesn't have a clear understanding of what we do.

And so it is with some trepidation of what might show up in the comments that I bring up this story.  I'm sure folks will complain about this story as well.  The reality is, this story is in the news, and garnering lots of comments.  And that is something we talk about.  I do pieces all the time about veterans who have passed on, and they get a moderate amount of comments, but when I discuss something like this, the comments section tends to run wild.  So, here you go.....

wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |


Apparently the town of Chapin where this occured is just outside Columbia, South Carolina. Seems an odd place for someone to think that this was going to go bye without problems.  If you haven't been to Columbia recently, it is dotted with various parks dedicated to the military and veterans.  It's an incredible military-friendly area.  I went to college down the road a piece at The Citadel, and when I went to PLDC (the Sergeants academy) it was there at Fort Jackson.  So it isn't exactly a hot bed of anti-military bias.

I can't help but wonder what the point this English teacher was trying to make.  It certainly can't be that high schoolers show TOO MUCH respect for things like this, can it?  I assume it was some sort of "Dead Poet's Society" type thing, but I don't recall Robin Williams ever stomping on a flag to make his point. 

Anyone have any idea what point he was trying to make here?  If it is just about the power of symbolism, aren't there easier ways to do that?  I did find it interesting that the only two symbols mentioned are the flag and a picture of a cross.  I'm assuming he didn't do it with either a Star of David or the Al Qaeda flag, so was the point that it is okay as long as it is something the majority supports?

UPDATE: The Teacher responds:

Darryl D. Smalls says 12-year teacher Scott Compton was attempting to show his classes that America is an "inspirational idea," greater than the "material objects that represent it," during a lesson on symbolism.

"He made only positive comments about America throughout this lesson," wrote Smalls in an emailed statement to WIS. "The version of events currently circulating is incomplete."

"He meant no intentional disrespect to those men and women who served our country or to America itself," continued Smalls. "Several members of his family served in the Armed Forces and they have his total support given all of the facts of the lesson." 

"Many people have rushed to vilify my client based on one segment of the story related through a secondhand account," wrote Smalls. "My client has had an exemplary twelve year teaching career and was only trying to create a forum for discussion using a powerful symbol with which all his students would be familiar."

My question to this response is why is this a subject to be discussed in an English class?  If it were a civics lesson or something it would be simliarly idiotic, but the context might matter, but this is an honors English course. 

The fact that he meant no "intentional disrespect" doesn't really make it any better to me.  Should a teacher be cognizant enough of what he is doing to know that this is a horrid idea?  There would seem to me to be any number of ways of making the same point without desecrating our flag, no?  Would he advocate something like burning a copy of Cather in the Rye for instance?  I'm assuming no, so how is this a better means of discussing the topic of symbolism?

Posted in the burner | 131 comments
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There is no place for this type of demonstrative style of teaching in a public school. In fact, the only place where this type of teaching is permitted is in a college setting, only because they have a very wide degree of academic freedom to bring instruction... right or wrong.

This teach, even if he was being "positive," overstepped secondary education bounds and should be terminated or placed on leave without pay for the remainder of the year at the least. The school board should only then review the teacher for reinstatement if they find no further cause of concern for this type of behavior and teaching style!

Dr. Travis J Hedrick
College Professor
AL District Chaplain

Send the SOB to Syria, let him see what the US would be without freedom. Millions died for our country and the flag is a symbol of that. It needs to be respected and treated with honor.

This is typical of our current educational system. Our Universities have been puking out morons like this on a continous basis for quite some time. This idiot is a classic example of this. He should be hung by the same flag as a symbol of what captial punishment use to be like before you had dozens of appeals............................

I agree with your assessment of our current educational system. The liberals from the 60s and 70s went on to get advanced degrees, while we were in the jungle, and now spread their Anti -American diatribe through their students. Two of them are Bill Ayres and B ernadette Dorn-both friends of Obama and formerly of the Weather Underground that robbed armored cars and bombed public buildings.

Jerry, when I took my oath for the Air Force I don't recall political allegance being any part of it.

I am one of the liberals you mention and received my bachelor degree in 1971 after serving in the military from 1959 through 1966. As a labled Liberal, I love my country as much as anyone.

Sir, I respect your comments because you have freedom of speech that has been guaranteed by the death and service of a lot of military perspnnel over the years who were conservatives or liberals.

Teacher should be FIRED and/or
do 500 hours of free public service...
Trash Pick-Up for public service ...
The students will understand...
"God Bless America"
Retired Classroom Teacher of 39 years....


When I was a child in school, we pledged our allegiance to the Flag of the U.S.A., and to the Republic for which It stands... I am now 71 years of age. I still feel the same allegiance to flag as I did when young. In My opinion, the SC teacher should be fired and their teaching credentials revoked.

I LOVE your idea, tit for tat!

Publically assemble a half-dozen veterans who defended that ignorant teacher's freedoms, have that teacher produce his vaunted teaching certificate and diploma, and have the vets stomp that man's symbols into the dirt.

Take something he cherishes like we do our flag and stomp and trash on it like he did and see how he reacts! Might he feel some of our anger and rage? Don't blame us for not allowing him the freedom to express his political views. Blame him for totally inappropriate behavior for a so called "professional" teaching children. No wonder the dumbing down of America is so prevalent today. Look at who's "teaching".

Want to bet that "teacher" would never turn over those documents? To the Marines that suggest stomping on the teacher. You don't have to go that far, just show up in uniform and make the suggestion. There will be enough brown discharge from the teacher that you wouldn't want to dirty your boots. He isn't worth it.

I had a slightly similar problem as an Army vet (1968-1971) when I returned to college after my discharge. An English professor was constantly going on about how terrible we military were in Viet Nam and how we were criminals etc. After a couple of weeks of this BS, I raised my hand and asked the professor if he ever was in Viet Nam. He said, "No." I told him I was and he was talking out of his a$$. He ordered me out of his class. Six other men left with me. Turned out they were vets too.

It is easy to brainwash someone when they have little minds.
Jeff Smoley, 2014

"The pen is mightier than the sword"; but without the sword, you don't get to use the pen.
Jeff Smoley, 2011

Join Oathkeepers look them up.

The teacher is well within his First Amendment rights to have done so. The Supreme Court upheld that particular item some years ago. But, all acts have consequences, and as natural law, and the simple laws of physics (i.e., Newton's First Law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction)show us, it is also protected political speech to DEFEND the flag, in at least equal terms. So, he can stomp on the flag, it's his right. And somebody can stomp him for doing it, it's their right!

When did the American Legion become 100% Republican?

This is why we have to get the flag protection admendment passed. Period. And to answer the nut case. What has this to do with American Legion being 100% Republican???

In your own mind, 'bout the same time you decided to be 100% irrelevantly anonymous.

Excellent retort! Right on.

Don't ask a question to try and stir up the pot and not sign your name to it "ANONYMOUS", I am a member of my local AL Post and the ALR as well, I am an Independent, the AL supports not one political party of view point, at least not in my Post. Man up and sign your name, and quit trying to stir the pot.

Amen! Not one of my men ever fought for a piece of cloth. And, I don't think I saw any Republicans either!

Where in this entire post do you see that The American Legion is 100% Republican? Like your Anonymous friend up there, you make these idiotic comments to stir the pot. Obviously you have never served in the United States Military and have no idea what Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors fight for.

And I know its going to wreck your fragile little world but the U.S. Military is made up of mostly Republicans.

If you want to join something more liberal try Obama's Free Sh*t Army and hold your hand out for my hard earned money.

Now that's a stupid question. You obviously are not a member.

I am a retired educator, university level, of 50 years, and in all those years I have never heard of a US educated teacher behaving like some muslim terrorist. I think he is without social conscience and should be placed on administrative leave, immediately. His obligation to his students is greater than his insipid interpretation of political correctness. Regardless of his intentions, his choice was infantile, stupid, and egregious.

Amen !! and Amen !! Professor Mesaman. Your comments are very well said. The teacher should be placed on administrative leave immediately. Actually he should never be exposed to children again.
I am a Veteran of WWII and proud of our Country. The teacher desecrated the memory of the thousands of valiant Service Personnel who gave their lives to keep our people free. I am also a South Carolinian by birth, received all my education in South Carolina and entered the Service in WWII at Fort Jackson in Columbia. I know that South Carolinians have a rich heritage of patriotism and would never condone such insensitive behavior.

The teacher stated correctlt, it a symbol. It IS a symbol and one that should never, ever be taken lightly. The teacher needs to go and suffer the consequence of her actions.

Yes the flag is a symble but g.w. had the flag made so the colenies would be united and since we as a united country has shed a lot of blood for this flag a symble yes a blood right yes folks lets respect this symble and unite to protect it

Our troops are being taught mandatory classes to respect foreign countries flags and religions, yet our own people can desecrate ours? Pompous ass teacher. Fire him and let him join the majority of Americans - on welfare and foodstamps.

This was disrespect for the Nation no matter what he intended. He needs to be fired and have his teaching credentials removed. It is not something that should be taught in a classroom. Children only see the act and draw their own conclussions from it.

He, WAS NOT, a BoyScout, if he was he did not learn anything! Good thing he did not use the "KORAN".

I was thinking the same thing. Except maybe it's too bad he didn't use the Koran. He might have learned that symbolism is perhaps a little more important to people than he thought.

We will all be before The Lord some day and judged for our actions.

I am a retired Coast Guardsman. I can think of two possible situations about this teacher. (1) He intentionally was making a political statement, attempted to cover his actions by explaining it was symbolic and a lesson to be learned and also wanted his 15 minutes of fame for an act that he knew would bring a strong response from the majority. Or (2), he was entirely clueless about our history and military sacrifices, makes extremely poor decisions, sets a poor example and thought that this would not be a big deal. EITHER WAY, he does not belong in a classroom. Dumb, or overly smart, he should not be teaching and leadiing high school students regardless.

I am a retired Marine GySgt and I will defend this counrty and Her Flag were ever I go! I have seen the blood of my brothers and sisters in arms. I was the one who raised the the FLAG at the crash site of United Flight 93 on 9/12/01.
The teacher was wrong all the way and if I had been in his class room as a student I would have STOMPED a Knot Hole in him!
Gunny out... SEMPER FI

Thank you Gunny, I am proud to be a brother. January 1966- January 1970. Should never have gotten out, I was a dumb kid. I put my opinion about 2005 this day. Thank you again!

Amen, Gunny! I am also a former Marine Sgt who served from '66 - '69 and all I can say is, I also wish I was there in the classroom so I could have helped complete the lesson on symbolism of what happens when you stomp on the blood of our forefathers.

Gunny, This marine Colonel couldn't agree more! I would have covered the flanks for you and helped you stomp him to a greasy spot. Col out. Semper Fi!

I'm with you Gunny. We would probably break each others feet stomping this idiot. When I think of my friends, Marines and Sailors, who died in the Mekong delta it makes my blood boil. This person need a symbolic ass kicking. Semper Fi!

He should have used another symbol of America. He could have used a picture of a Bald Eagle. He had to have known that this would spark some sort of outrage! I don't feel for him. But he does have the right to do it; right, wrong or indifferent. We all served to preserve that right.

The flag is, just a symbol, well, except for the cloth & dye, but, as a symbol, it's just something emotional. It's not like it's real. It's like love, honor, caring, courage, etc. Not real. So it's not like the teacher stomped on something real (as a symbol), but then, if somebody stomps the teacher, why should someone interfere? The cops? Why? It's just their duty, not something real. Why should someone else help? That would just be courage, or caring, or protecting. Not real things. So ask the teacher, why should anyone interfere if somebody decides to stomp them? It would just be a 'symbol'.

Stomping on our flag should not be used to make any point other than you hate this country and all it stands for. Teacher should be bared from teaching anywhere in the state.

And this teacher should feel free to move to a USA hating country, maybe in the middle east where they would kill him if he made a point of the symbol of the Koran. I'll help him pack. We should take up a collection to pay for his air fare.

To say our Flag is just a piece of cloth, and has no meaning, is not only disrespectful to our Flag, but also to anyone who has served or died serving our Country and our Flag. That may have been his personal opinion, but it does not belong in any classroom.

There is no excuse. Very poor judgement to do something that disrespectful in front of students in a classroom. Fire him.

Not a surprising thing given the socialist environment of today's schools. The teacher has no respect and is teaching that same attitude to our children. FIRE HIS BUTT ASAP. No excuses by the administration or the union.

Stomping or burning, Same to me, 30 day suspension-no pay..

Our flag represents not only the many troops that have fought for our freedom, but all the freedoms that our forefathers fought to have, and gave blood, sweat, and tears to build out wonderful country. I think that this teacher does not understand the symbolism of the flag is more than a symbol. I think that this teacher should pull a term in the armed forces and taught what the flag really stands for. I think he would respect it much more after he learned all the history behind our flad.

Shame on this teacher, what kind of a flaming idiot are they letting teach in this school district!! An intelligent and educated person (I assume he is educated, but obviously not intelligent) does not make a point by disrespecting what I proudly agreed to protect, and for which so many have given their health and in some cases, their lives.

No disresptect? He disrespected the symbol of our country--FIRE him and make him read the words of the national anthem!

There is a new national movement toward education standards called the Common Core Career Readiness Standards. In a nut shell, they direct English classes to teach less novels and short stories and, instead, teach reading for information. This requires the use of non-fiction, including primary source material such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In fact, most every junior year literature book has within the early-American unit the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis,” and Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death speech.” I am not at all surprised that the teacher was covering the material. I also understand that he meant no disrespect. I can even appreciate that he was trying to make a point in a dramatic way. Still, I can say as a vet and a teacher, I think he could have found a better way to do it.

So why did the instructor give all his positive coments about the USA and honor the flag as a symbol for what it stands: One Nation under God indivisable with liberty and justice for all.

Send his ass to the military and see if he steps on the flag after that. In addition, fire him immediately.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.