Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Teacher burns flags as lesson in free speech

As a hands-on example of free-speech a high school teacher in Louisville, Kentucky last week burned two American flags, Fox News reported.

On Friday, Stuart Middle School seventh-grade social studies teacher Dan Holden burned the flags in class as part of a civics lesson.

The students were then asked to write an essay discussing their opinions on the issue.

More than 20 parents complained to the school on Monday.

Pat Summers, whose daughter was in the class, got her 15 minutes of fame by giving a reporter this amazingly dull quote: "She said, 'Our teacher burned a flag.' I'm like, 'What?"'

Holden has been teaching at the school since 1979. He was relieved of teaching duties and placed in a non-instructional position yesterday.

The district also alerted city fire officials.

"Certainly we're concerned about the safety aspect," Roberts said. Then she added, along with "the judgment of using that type of demonstration in a class."

Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said Holden has "been teaching for many years, and has by all accounts a good teaching record. It was not a political statement and was meant to illustrate a controversial issue. To fire someone because of that would be inappropriate," he said. "It wasn't like he was taking one side or another."

Congress attempted to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting flag burning earlier this year. It failed in the U.S. Senate.

The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union's director Beth Wilson said the school district is allowed to decide what's instructionally appropriate, but that "if a school is masking their objections to flag burning under the guise of safety, it raises questions about freedom of speech and academic freedom."

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1 comment:

  1. That's odd, I live in Kentucky, though closer to Lexington, but have heard nothing about this yet. I'll tune into the one Louisville I get tonight and see if they have anything to say about it.


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