(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
A South Carolina high school will be paying an $85,000 settlement to a former teacher who was removed from the classroom after stomping on a U.S. flag as part of a lesson on freedom.
"Prior to his resignation, attorneys for Mr. Compton informed district attorneys that he had prepared a complaint for filing in federal court," said Lexington-Richland District 5 spokesman Mark Bounds, according to The State.
Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton is also going to be receiving his salary through to June 7, and the school district will have to pay nearly $32,000 for attorney fees, The Associated Press reported.
The flag-stomping incident reportedly occurred last year, and after receiving criticism, the high school teacher resigned on March 27, citing "family and personal reasons." A Freedom of Information Act request showed that the $85,000 payment was described as "a compromise and resolution of disputed claims." The record added, however, that Compton's resignation was not an admission of guilt.
"Based on financial considerations related to anticipated legal fees to defend such a suit, the insurer made the decision to make a monetary (offer) to Mr. Compton. He accepted the offer," the Lexington-Richland District spokesman said.
According to The State, Superintendent Stephen Hefner wanted to fire the high school teacher earlier, noting that Compton had made a number of "poor judgment" mistakes in the past.
Compton has apparently tried to defend the flag-stomping incident as a lesson that was supposed to promote discussion about the nation and its symbols, and that it was not meant to be disrespectful.
"We're glad this issue is resolved," Bounds commented. "Its resolution is in the best interest of the district, our teachers and the students we serve."
The Christian Post left messages with the Lexington-Richland District seeking more information about the incident but received no response at the time of press.
Earlier this year, a Florida Atlantic University professor also generated some controversy after he instructed his intercultural communications class to write down the name "Jesus" on a piece of paper and then step on it, following a textbook plan.
The professor, a Christian, insisted that the point of the exercise was to illustrate the power of symbols.