Chapin teacher in flag flap resigns

dprice@thestate.comMarch 29, 2013 

American Flag

American flag waving against a blue sky

UYEN LE

Read some of the documents in this case at the bottom of this story

The Chapin High School English teacher who stomped on an American flag during a lesson about symbolism last year resigned Friday, according to a press release issued jointly by the teacher and Lexington-Richland District 5.

Scott Compton resigned from the school, effective at the end of the school year, for personal and family reasons, according to the release. He has been on administrative leave from the district since taking a U.S. flag off a classroom wall and stomping on it during three classes in mid-December.

“Both Mr. Compton and the District agree that his resignation is at the best interest of everyone who was directly involved in this matter,” the release stated.

The teacher has been suspended with pay since mid-December, but was fired Jan. 15 on the recommendation of Lexington-Richland 5 superintendent Stephen Hefner. He was appealing his firing so was still with the district.

In Compton’s termination letter, obtained by The State newspaper through a Freedom of Information Act request, Hefner said the flag stomping was the latest incident in “a pattern of poor judgment.”

Compton, who had taught at Chapin High School for seven years, appealed the firing and was set to go before the school board for an appeal March 5. That hearing was postponed, however.

In addition to citing the flag-stomping, Hefner’s letter cited as grounds for the teacher’s dismissal the fact that Compton allowed a liquor advertisement to appear in Chapin High School’s student newspaper while he was the paper’s adviser and a warning he had received about his failure to properly communicate with other school staff members.

Compton’s Attorney, Darryl Smalls, has said that the honors English teacher didn’t intend to be disrespectful by stomping on the flag. He made only positive comments about the United States during the lesson, which Smalls said sought to show students that the nation is more important than its symbols.

Lexington-Richland 5 doesn’t have standards for treatment of the flag, but school officials have said Compton violated conduct expected of a teacher.

The flag stomping incident drew national media attention. The incident also angered military veterans who called for his firing and called the stomping unpatriotic and unprofessional. Compton’s supporters contended that firing would be too harsh a disciplinary action for a well-intentioned mistake made while trying to teach a lesson.

He isn’t the only Lexington-Richland 5 teacher to land in hot water this year.

Laurie Humphrey, a social studies teacher at Dutch Fork High, was kept out of her classroom for a week after putting up a sign shortly before the Nov. 6 election, saying “the road to hell is paved with Democrats.”

The sign violated a ban on expressing political opinions in classrooms, but Humphrey didn’t lose her job.

Darryl Smalls Statement

Darryl Smalls statement by thestate

Amended Termination Letter, Jan 15, 2013

Scott Compton Amended Termination Letter by thestate

Termination Letter, January 10, 2013

Scott Compton termination letter by thestate

Reach Price at (803) 771-8376.

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