A North Carolina teacher could face disciplinary action and even misdemeanor charges for allegedly stomping on the American flag during a lesson.
History teacher Lee Francis was reportedly teaching students about Texas v. Johnson, which ruled that the First Amendment and Bill of Rights makes flag desecration lawful, the Fay Observer reports.
Francis' friend and colleague said he was "just showing a point and teaching."
"The rest of the class understood," added Francis -- who also captured national attention on Facebook after running for public office in 2015, before making his posts private.
Yet Texas v. Johnson is a case that contrasts starkly with current North Carolina law.
General Statute 14-381 states that it is illegal to "to cast contempt upon any flag of the United States or upon any flag of North Carolina by public acts of physical contact including, but not limited to, mutilation, defiling, defacing or trampling. Any person violating this section shall be deemed guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor."
Consequently, Francis came under fire after a student's parent posted on Facebook about the incident.
The person, whose Facebook name is Sara Taylor, uploaded a photo of the Massey Hill Classical High School teacher standing near the flag.
"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 flag draped over it," Taylor wrote on her Facebook post.
Taylor, whose child is not Francis' student, added that Francis first asked students for scissors or a lighter before stomping on the flag.
Many responded with outrage, calling for the teacher's resignation.
Cumberland County Superintendent Frank Till Jr. says he is currently investigating the situation further, waiting to hear both sides before acting.
"I don't want to make any comments until I get it sorted all out," Till said.
"There are multiple examples of people doing something like that and being protected," he added, however. "There are a lot of examples in archives we could use that were appropriate."