CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - The lawyer representing a Chapin High School teacher accused of stomping on an American flag during a lesson revealed more details about the incident in a statement on Wednesday.
Attorney Darryl D. Smalls says Scott Compton, a teacher of 12 years, was teaching a lesson on symbolism and "nothing more."
"At no point and in no way, shape or form was this lesson a negative commentary on America. It was quite the opposite," said Smalls.
In the statement, Smalls sheds further light on the incident that has received national attention and strong responses from parents and veterans.
"During a lesson on symbolism, as part of a unit on All Quiet on the Western Front, Mr. Compton first defined symbolism and followed with a discussion on some of the various symbols that he thought his students would be familiar with. He then began to discuss the flag that is present in most every classroom as he knew all of his students would have some background of thought regarding this particular symbol. It was during this portion of the lesson that he focused on the flag as a physical object and stated that America is an inspiration, greater than any material symbol that represents it. The intent of the lesson was to show that his actions could not diminish the foundation that America was built on and has thrived on. He felt this would be an effective symbol to use with his English 2 Honors class. Almost all of them will be going to college and some are already taking college level courses as sophomores at one of the top-ranked public schools in South Carolina. There was a bit more discussion about the nature of symbols and their complexity. Each class concluded without incident and my students seemed to grasp the main points of my lesson. At no point during the class, did my client or any student make a negative comment about America. The only goal was to teach symbolism."
Since that lesson, Smalls says Compton's world has been "turned upside down" and the lives of the teacher's wife and two children are "in jeopardy.
"My client has been targeted with various threats, harassing phone calls, and has received hate mail," said Smalls.
The district placed Compton on administrative leave after parents characterized his lessons as disrespectful and unpatriotic.
Compton's class was told they'd have a permanent replacement for Compton for the remainder of the year.
District officials would not say if Compton is still receiving pay.