Teacher in military community asks for lighter, then stomps on flag in front of students

A history teacher in Fayettville, North Carolina -home to thousands of military families who work at nearby Fort Bragg- enraged parents in the community when they became aware of his recent class lesson.

Lee Francis started teaching history at Massey Hill Classical High School after finishing graduate school at the University of North Carolina in December of 2015, according to his Facebook page.

Lee Francis has a Masters Degree in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro - UNCG. (Facebook)
Lee Francis has a Masters Degree in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro – UNCG. (Facebook)

On Monday, a picture -posted by a parent of a student at the school- of Francis teaching a First Amendment lesson quickly went viral.

The parent, Sara Taylor, claims Francis asked for a lighter and scissors while holding the American flag during his lesson.  After the students told him they were not allowed to have lighters in school and they did not have any scissors, he began to stomp on the flag.

“With the County getting so much funding for our military kids at this school, I ask the question of mutual respect, nothing less, nothing more,” Taylor said in her Facebook post.

“That flag might not mean anything to that teacher, but it means a lot to us and it means a lot to the families who had their service member come home to them in a casket with that flagged draped over it.”

In October, Francis ran against the incumbent for North Carolina’s state House District 43 seat. He called for a “revolution” in the education system to give power back to teachers. He said he wanted affordable health care for all and believes in homeless rights, voting rights, a higher minimum wage and supporting women’s rights and gay and transgender rights, the Fayetteville Observer reported.

Francis has yet to comment on the incident but did make a few remarks on Facebook to defend himself.

He posted that the lesson was about Texas v. Johnson, a case that upheld that flag desecration was protected by the First Amendment, and the Bill of Rights.

In a comment thread, he claimed he doesn’t “even teach the student of this Sara Taylor person and the class understood his lesson.


While Taylor admitted her child is not a student of his, she contended that a few students left the classroom with the flag to ask that it properly taken care of.

Fort Bragg is considered the largest military base in the world in terms of population.  The base is home for around 50,000 soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division and the Army’s Special Forces.

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