FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Fayetteville middle school teacher who sparked outrage after putting an American flag on the ground and stepping on it during a lesson the First Amendment said his job is now in limbo.
Lee Francis, a teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School, met with Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till for nearly an hour on Thursday.
Fayetteville attorney Allen Rogers, who is representing Francis, attended the meeting as well.
Francis said he’s waiting to hear from Till on further disciplinary actions that may occur. He said that, overall, the meeting went well.
“Dr. Frank Till made it clear that there could have been other ways to teach this, but I chose this method and it’s not necessarily wrong that I did,” he said.
He said the outrage stems from a lesson he gave when he put an American flag on the ground and stepped on it. But, he said, it was in the context of a lesson on freedom of speech.
“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.
“Hey, listen you American-hating piece of [expletive], how ’bout you shove that American flag up your ass,” was one such voicemail Francis received and played for CBS North Carolina.
Despite that, Francis told CBS North Carolina that he stands by his actions.
He is currently suspended for up to 90 days with pay from the school district.