Last winter, South Carolina teacher Scott Compton created controversy when he threw an American flag on the ground and stomped all over it. He said it "was only a piece of cloth," and it didn't "mean anything." Well, he was suspended afterwards, and it doesn't help when your superintendent is a military veteran. He soon resigned, but threatened legal action. To avoid a costly battle, he was offered a taxpayer-funded settlement, which he accepted. To be honest, I have no problem with Compton stomping on the American flag. I would feel the same way if he had burned it. Although, I'm sure other feel differently, especially since they're the ones being billed for this bailout.
At the end of the day, Compton was given an $85,000 goodbye package, which "is on top of Compton’s salary that will be paid through June 7, even though he has been out of the classroom since December." Additionally, the "Lexington-Richland 5 taxpayers also will foot the bill for more than $31,500 in attorney fees, records obtained by The State newspaper under a state Freedom of Information Act request show." Compton can also apply for unemployment benefits.
It's an emotionally-charged issue, and Compton should've known better concerning this educational exercise in a conservative state. But that shouldn't deter other teachers from doing like-minded engagement in the classroom. For example, the miasma of liberalism emanates from higher education — and it should be watched — but that doesn't mean there isn't an inherent value to a college professor going off on an insane anti-American tangent. If anything, it should strengthen a conservative's resolve to prove that person wrong. Being challenged on your positions is always a good thing.
Yes, this is one of those issues — and there are a few — where I get relegated to the kids table within conservative circles. I agree that what Compton did was disgraceful and disrespectful to the men and women in the military, and those who have built the United States into the nation we are today. Frankly, if it weren't for the U.S. troops who fought in Korea, I wouldn't be enjoying the life I live today with the loving family that adopted me. Yet, at the same time, every man and woman in uniform fights so that people have the freedom to do exactly what Compton did, which is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.
We may not like what Compton did, but it's not illegal to stomp on a flag, or desecrate it. As for Compton's settlement, the school district could've chosen not to dismiss him. As a conservative, I don't put the Bill of Rights on a graduated scale. They're all important, and everyone should be equally vociferous in defending all of them, while also protecting those who invoke its privileges from time to time.