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View Full Version : KY teacher burns US flag- removed from classroom


samsung101
Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:45 PM
He hasn't been fired or suspended or anything else.
The district removed him from the classroom and teaching
duties in light of his unusual teaching methods.


Supposedly, it was an exercise in free speech.
Teacher burns two flags (one wasn't enough I guess),
American flags of course, and the students write a paper
on the Constitutional freedom to burn a flag, right or wrong,
court decision right or wrong, your opinon -per the lesson.

OK, I get it.

But, what if the teacher had used oh, I don't know,
Hezbollah or Hamas or Iranian or Syrian or Chinese or
Israeli or PLO flag as an example of freedom of speech,
and burned two of those in class.

Would the ACLU be happy about that? It is evidently
looking into this for the teacher, and the issue.

Would the news cover it the way it has (or hasn't)?


Personally, a rather dumb lesson plan. Uh, what about
fire Mr. Teacher? Two flags burning in an enclosed school
room, not real bright over there in Kentucky are we? I'm
sure that was the main reason they suspended him, and the
flag issue is also in there...the parents are the ones who
complained about it.


I think burning an American flag has been and is covered under
the Constitution as free speech, even though it is a disgusting
thing to do. But, this act seems like one bad teaching tool
in my opinion. Poor judgement. Reason for a suspension or
a warning, but, not firing. I don't think it appears it was anything
political one way or the other. Just a poor lesson plan trying to
follow up the recent Congressional vote.



Next time, do it outside, and burn a few other nations flags
or a group flag, like GLADD or the UN, and see what happens
then. Instead of a lesson in 'free speech', you'll be called
a hate monger.

Ferosh
Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:50 PM
Seriously, why don't you go join a message board that deals with nothing but political issues? :rolleyes:

tenn_ace
Aug 22nd, 2006, 05:02 PM
Seriously, why don't you go join a message board that deals with nothing but political issues? :rolleyes:


:worship: :lol:

Philbo
Aug 22nd, 2006, 05:10 PM
Samsung Please Write All The Way From Left To Right And Let Your Cursor Go To The Next Line Automatically. I Hate Your Silly Paragraph Format To All Your Posts!

Wigglytuff
Aug 22nd, 2006, 05:49 PM
samsung dude, why is it you start like 5 sensationalist threads a day, you claim as fact but you never once post a source or a link or an article? whats with that? its annoying as all hell.

griffin
Aug 22nd, 2006, 07:05 PM
Seriously, why don't you go join a message board that deals with nothing but political issues? :rolleyes:

Because they're probably too familiar with the blogs s/he's plagerizing to let him/her get away with it.

Helen Lawson
Aug 22nd, 2006, 07:13 PM
I'd be more concerned they'd be fostering pyromania or something like my kid would get obsessed with burning stuff just to burn it and then I'd have a problem. Fires and children don't go together.

*JR*
Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:11 PM
I'd be more concerned they'd be fostering pyromania or something like my kid would get obsessed with burning stuff just to burn it and then I'd have a problem. Fires and children don't go together.
Plus smoke in the classroom. What if some of the kids have asthma? :angel:

jbeacinu
Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:22 PM
Seriously, why don't you go join a message board that deals with nothing but political issues? :rolleyes:


Aww don't be rude now.. :worship: :lol:

Volcana
Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:52 PM
Supposedly, it was an exercise in free speech.
Teacher burns two flags (one wasn't enough I guess),
American flags of course, and the students write a paper
on the Constitutional freedom to burn a flag, right or wrong,
court decision right or wrong, your opinon -per the lesson.

OK, I get it.

[QUOTE=samsung101]Uh, what about fire Mr. Teacher? Two flags burning in an enclosed school room, not real bright over there in Kentucky are we? I'm
sure that was the main reason they suspended him, and the flag issue is also in there...the parents are the ones who complained about it. No doubt you ARE sure. The question is do you know anything about the physical circumstances under which he burned it. Did he do it under a hood in a chemistry lab? (When I took chemistry, we used fire in the school almost every day.) Did he have fire extinguishers handy? Were the windows open?

I think burning an American flag has been and is covered under the Constitution as free speech, even though it is a disgusting
thing to do.Why? That's exactly what you're supposed to do to an American flag that's become soiled or ripped. You burn it. (I'm sure you knew that.) Hardly disgusting, it's an act of respect.

Now, some people might think burning a flag as political protest is disgusting, but the act of burning the flag itself has a long and respected history.

*JR*
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:05 AM
What would have happened if he burned a cross to instigate debate about freedom of expression? :scratch:

Volcana
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:09 AM
I took the trouble to do a little research. Here's the article from Courier-Journal.com. (I'd bet money Samsung got the story from Faux News, but how can I prove it?) I also called the reporter and spoke to him. There are conflicting reports on the size of the flags. A student in one of the classes said the one she saw was about three inches square. A parent said they were about a foot square. Whether or not there was a fire extinguisher nearby is part of the investigation the fire department is doing.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060822/NEWS01/608220378


Stuart Middle School teacher burns U.S. flags in class
Lesson causes uproar in Jefferson


By Chris Kenning
ckenning@courier-journal.com (ckenning@courier-journal.com)
The Courier-Journal




A Stuart Middle School teacher has been removed from the classroom after he burned two American flags in class during a lesson on freedom of speech, Jefferson County Public Schools officials said. Dan Holden, who teaches seventh-grade social studies, burned small flags in two different classes Friday and asked students to write an opinion paper about it, district spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said.

A teacher in the school district since 1979, Holden has been temporarily reassigned to non-instructional duties pending a district investigation. The district also alerted city fire officials, who are conducting their own investigation.

"Certainly we're concerned about the safety aspect," Roberts said, along with "the judgment of using that type of demonstration in a class."

Pat Summers, whose daughter was in Holden's class, said he was among more than 20 parents upset about the incident at school yesterday. Holden apparently told the students to ask their parents what they thought about the lesson, he said.

"She said, 'Our teacher burned a flag.' I'm like, 'What?' " Summers said. "When I was (at the school) at 8 a.m., the lobby was filled with probably 25 or 30 parents" who were upset, he said.

Holden could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Roberts said the flag burning did not appear to be politically motivated, based on an interview with Holden.

Summers said no advance notice had been given to parents, nor were school administrators aware of Holden's plans, Roberts said.

Stuart sixth-grader Kelsey Adwell, 11, said students were abuzz about the incident yesterday.

"They just can't believe that a teacher would do that -- burn two American flags in front of the class," she said. "A teacher shouldn't do that, even though it was an example."

Kentucky has a statute last amended in 1992 making desecration of a national or state flag in a public place a misdemeanor, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that flag desecration is protected speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said the federal ruling would trump the state statute.

Congress has tried unsuccessfully to prohibit flag burning with a constitutional amendment. The latest attempt failed in the Senate this year.

Beth Wilson, director of Kentucky's ACLU, said the district is allowed to decide what's instructionally appropriate.

But "if a school is masking their objections to flag burning under the guise of safety, it raises questions about freedom of speech and academic freedom," she said. She said her group would monitor the case but did not plan to get involved at this point.

Regardless, school board member Pat O'Leary said the flag burning was unnecessary and could have offended some students, including those in military families.

"A teacher doesn't do that," he said. "It's just disrespectful."

Rebecca Creech, a Stuart sixth-grader, said she also thought it was "wrong."

Ginny Adwell, Kelsey's mother and the school's PTA president, said some parents who called for Holden to be fired were "going a little bit overboard" and should remember that the teacher was trying to provoke thought.

Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said Holden has "been teaching for many years, and has by all accounts a good teaching record. It was not a political statement and was meant to illustrate a controversial issue. To fire someone because of that would be inappropriate," he said. "It wasn't like he was taking one side or another."

McKim said he was gathering facts that would determine whether the district was justified in removing Holden from the classroom.

In 2001, a teacher in Sacramento, Calif., faced suspension for using a lighter to singe a corner of an American flag in class.

The teacher later was fired, but district officials cited numerous acts of poor judgment and disregard for superiors.

Reporter Chris Kenning can be reached at (502) 582-4697.

Volcana
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:11 AM
What would have happened if he burned a cross to instigate debate about freedom of expression? :scratch:Depends on where. If he burned it on someone's lawn, he'd likely be arrested for 'making a terroristic threat'. If he burned it in the classroom, the reaction would likely be much the same as in this case. Only he'd be accused of disrespecting the religion of the students.

louisa2k2
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:18 AM
To be honest he must have know the effect this would have had before he did it. whether it was right or wrong, you have to be crazy to burn a national flag in america. In england people would just think whatever, dont care but some Americans actually have a sense of pride in their country.

*JR*
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:57 AM
One thing I'll bet is that some of the (relatively) richest Palestinians in Gaza, etc. are the ones who make and sell American and Israeli flags. After all, the same ppl who burn them have to buy new ones to burn again, so the flag companies have a steady source of repeat business. :tape:

partbrit
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:59 AM
To answer your question about the ACLU, of which I am a member, the issue is not relevant to the statutes in question. There is no federal or state statute banning the burning of a foreign flag; therefore, there is no conflict and no issue.

The issue would have to be one of pure First Amendment, and yes, the ACLU would intervene for that, too.

It is the only the safety issue that troubles me; no one should set fire to anything in a classroom.

Volcana
Aug 23rd, 2006, 01:49 AM
To be honest he must have know the effect this would have had before he did it. whether it was right or wrong, you have to be crazy to burn a national flag in america. In england people would just think whatever, dont care but some Americans actually have a sense of pride in their country.Actually, according to the reporter who wrote the story, the teacher really wasn't expecting this reaction. He told his students to discuss it with their parents, and get their reactions. The guy has been a teacher in that district for 17 years, so it's not like he doesn't know the community.

My guess is, he expected the parents to complain to him directly, rather than go to the principle. Both my parents were teachers, and I've known a lot of them through the years. After they've been in one place for a while, they tend to think they know the community very well, and that the community knows them.

BTW, the Courier-Journal IS going to be following the story, so we'll get the local angle. I find it unlikely the guy will even be censured. He was teaching a Civics class. Even removing him from the classroom temporarily comes close to violating the point of such a class. What's the lesson? Constitutional guarantees are meaningless?

Williamsser
Aug 23rd, 2006, 02:00 AM
I'm curious as to why you chose the username Samsung, which is the name of a South Korean company?

Scotso
Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:43 AM
It is the only the safety issue that troubles me; no one should set fire to anything in a classroom.

Agreed, a real bozo move there. No one should be setting fire to anything in a school setting unless it's for a useful science experiment. Burning a flag just to make a point is rather idiotic. People can imagine what a flag burning would look like, and go from there.

meyerpl
Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:47 AM
I think anyone who burns an American flag should be hung without due-process, you know, in order to protect the flag and all it stands for.

GrandSlam05
Aug 23rd, 2006, 05:40 AM
I have no problem with burning of flags, it's just a symbol anyway. But that teacher is a moron, and so are most of the teachers I had growing up. The profession seems to attract lazies and idiots. Even in my generation, I shudder to think about the people I went to school with who were education majors. :help:

Wigglytuff
Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:14 AM
I took the trouble to do a little research. Here's the article from Courier-Journal.com. (I'd bet money Samsung got the story from Faux News, but how can I prove it?) I also called the reporter and spoke to him. There are conflicting reports on the size of the flags. A student in one of the classes said the one she saw was about three inches square. A parent said they were about a foot square. Whether or not there was a fire extinguisher nearby is part of the investigation the fire department is doing.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060822/NEWS01/608220378

seriously, this is another reason why i am glad i left teaching.

the use of fire was stupid. but had the teacher cut it up into little squares and put in the trash the reaction would have been the same.

this BS about hurt feelings is... well bs. should a teacher not teach a lesson about nazi germany because some kids grandparents were nazis and they might have hurt feelings? should a teacher not teach about the 1970s because some kids parents might have been a hippie?

this sort of over excessive censorship is NOT education. it is the very ANTI-THESIS of EDUCATION. and frankly the very reason why American education (both public and private) is such a universal joke. it is this level of sugar water schooling that leads to students walking away without any idea of whats going on, understanding of multiple sides of any story, or even any idea of the roots, causes and effects of those issues.

Wigglytuff
Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:38 AM
I have no problem with burning of flags, it's just a symbol anyway. But that teacher is a moron, and so are most of the teachers I had growing up. 1-The profession seems to attract lazies and idiots. 2-Even in my generation, I shudder to think about the people I went to school with who were education majors. :help:
1-thats not true, and it is.

the profession does everything it can to push way people of superior knowledge in their fields and with a clear CONTENT understanding. this means that there are still some very talented, very qualified teachers, who are also well respected by parents and students alike: i know many personally. but it also means that for every one like that, the system has turned away two. you are left with the some of the best and the much of the worst. and very little in between.

i remember in my student teaching seeing certified teachers tell students outright lies. (for example: up until the 1800's china did not have contact with or trade with any other nations or people in world; Taoism and Confucianism are not religions and so on)and have those lies be supported and treated as fact when any historian will tell you otherwise. not because they meant harm to the children but because the history teachers at this school were not historians. they were not trained and history and knew less about history than if you just watched the history twice a week :help: .

2- yes that is the case. i think the flaw in the current system is that content is seen and treated as second to pedagogy, while pedagogy is important i think the first priority should be content knowledge of instructors. people who know the issues in their fields and what the important questions are.

Wigglytuff
Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:39 AM
Of course, because a fabric symbol commands the same amount of respect as a human life.

I honestly don't see what the issue is. We have politicians figuratively (and sometimes literally :tape: ) wrapping themselves up in the flag to promote actions and agendas which may not be honest or in the best interests of the people, and yet somehow the act of burning reproducible fabric symbols in order to make a political statement is somehow "disgusting"?

Like others have mentioned, my only concern is that he set fire to something in a classroom (though, as others have mentioned, without a source it's hard to know if he did this in a confined, controlled way).
:worship: :worship:

Scotso
Aug 23rd, 2006, 06:15 PM
seriously, this is another reason why i am glad i left teaching.

God, you were a teacher? :help:

Scotso
Aug 23rd, 2006, 06:17 PM
What's so odd about burning a flag, anyway? It's the proper way to dispose of an old flag. In fact, if the American flag ever touches the ground, you're SUPPOSED to burn it.

These idiotic "patriots" who so value "tradition" know absolutely nothing about it.

SelesFan70
Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:43 PM
I took the trouble to do a little research.

Finally! :banana:

SelesFan70
Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:46 PM
The more liberals burn flags the more the poor peasants in the sweat shops will have to make, so really they're only hurting the people they claim to care about. :)

I can guarantee you if a teacher burned, oh, a Koran this board would be up in arms! :lol:

Volcana
Aug 23rd, 2006, 09:39 PM
I can guarantee you if a teacher burned, oh, a Koran this board would be up in arms! I doubt it. When it was reported that US interogators at Abu Ghraib threw a koran into a toilet, it got posted here, and there wasn't much of a reaction.

Lord Nelson
Aug 23rd, 2006, 10:27 PM
I doubt it. When it was reported that US interogators at Abu Ghraib threw a koran into a toilet, it got posted here, and there wasn't much of a reaction.
Actually there was a strong reaction in the muslim world and U.S. authorities said that they would ensure that this does not happen again. Also this happend in Iraq where there is war and not in U.S.

Wigglytuff
Aug 23rd, 2006, 10:36 PM
God, you were a teacher? :help:
you are another reason i left teaching. too many stupid people dont get eaten by wolves like they should have been. yourself included. and they end up in a classroom and make life difficult for the other students. and then, theres those students parents (who also should have, and would have in a more natural setting, met with hungry, angry wolves) want to tell you that you should cover anything controversial. because we all know nothing controversial ever happened in recorded history :smash: . no thank you.

I run my private tutoring business now, and when I run into those types i just say "i am sorry i am unable to meet your needs", and life is good!!! :lol:

*JR*
Aug 23rd, 2006, 11:12 PM
God, you were a teacher? :help:
That's one reason there are so many idiots in NYC. :lol:

GrandSlam05
Aug 24th, 2006, 12:20 AM
As far as I'm concerned people can burn, flush as many Korans as they want. The book is no more sacred than any other fairy tale written in history (the bible, Sleeping Beauty, etc.). BTW I'm a liberal.

SelesFan70
Aug 24th, 2006, 12:31 AM
As far as I'm concerned people can burn, flush as many Korans as they want. The book is no more sacred than any other fairy tale written in history (the bible, Sleeping Beauty, etc.). BTW I'm a liberal.

:worship:

I could not agree with you more, but we all know it doesn't work like that.

Volcana
Aug 24th, 2006, 05:43 AM
Actually there was a strong reaction in the muslim world and U.S. authorities said that they would ensure that this does not happen again. Also this happend in Iraq where there is war and not in U.S.The point was the reaction of THIS BOARD, which was a collective yawn.

Volcana
Aug 24th, 2006, 05:45 AM
BTW I'm a liberal.No you aren't. Liberals respect the religions of others. That's why we oppose governing in accordance with any ONE of them.

Wigglytuff
Aug 24th, 2006, 05:49 AM
No you aren't. Liberals respect the religions of others. That's why we oppose governing in accordance with any ONE of them.
:worship: :worship: :worship:

CooCooCachoo
Aug 24th, 2006, 05:53 AM
Seriously, why don't you go join a message board that deals with nothing but political issues? :rolleyes:

Just face the fact that he posts it in Non-Tennis and that politics is a non-tennis topic. What is wrong with him posting it here? Nothing. It is just valid as the overload of Star Jones [ :retard: ] and Paris Hilton [ :help: ] threads. And much more meaningful.

Volcana
Aug 24th, 2006, 06:48 AM
And the beat goes on ...
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060823/NEWS01/60823031

News of teacher's flag burning circles the globe
By burning two small U.S. flags in school, Louisville teacher Dan Holden intended to spark a reaction that would prompt his seventh-graders to write thoughtful papers on freedom of speech.

Instead, he fueled an uproar that is being debated across America — and beyond.

His actions Friday during a Stuart Middle School civics lesson have made headlines on CNN, MTV News, the Drudge Report and Al-Jazeera, a Qatar-based news network.

It’s being debated across the Web, from political blogs to hunting Web sites to college and professional sports fan pages.

The only one staying silent so far is Holden, a social studies teacher who has said nothing publicly since he was reassigned to non-instructional duties after burning the foot-long flags.

But that hasn’t dampened the frenzy.

Officials with Jefferson County Public Schools said they have been deluged with calls and e-mails from across the nation — some wanting Holden fired on the spot, and others defending his attempt to engage students.

“I’m amazed that it’s caused this controversy around the country,” said Joe Hardesty, chairman of the school board.

The debate has been amplified by the Internet and by Americans’ polarized views on patriotism and civil liberties, said John Ferre, a University of Louisville communications professor who studies the media.

School officials surprised
Lauren Roberts, the school district’s spokeswoman, said she has been fielding one media call after another, with requests to go on syndicated radio shows and cable news networks.

“I hope that it can be used as a teachable moment for the children,” she said.

Administrators said Holden told them he wasn’t making a political statement but rather was trying to provoke students to think about free speech, discuss it with their parents and write about it.

Steve Neal, director of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, which is representing Holden, said the controversy appeared to catch the teacher off-guard. Holden has worked in the district since 1979.

“I don’t think in his wildest dream he thought it would be to this magnitude,” Neal said.

Incident still under investigation
Although flag burning is constitutionally protected speech, the district is investigating whether Holden endangered students and acted appropriately.

That could take several weeks to complete, officials said.

Meanwhile, city fire investigators said Wednesday they are looking to see if any violations occurred.

Stuart Middle School teachers haven’t talked about the incident with students because the issue is an unresolved personnel matter, Principal Jennifer Colley said.

But seventh-graders Kayla Elias and Britney Caples, who weren’t in Holden’s class, said students have been talking about it.

Christine Murphy, who said she has a son in Holden’s class, doesn’t want Holden to return.

“I don’t think it was right,” she said. “He went about it the wrong way. He owes an apology to the students and the families.”

Ginny Adwell, head of the school’s parent-teacher association, said parents were “taken aback by how big it got,” but that “it’s not necessarily not a bad thing, if what’s being discussed is the First Amendment.”

No shortage of discussion
On the Courier-Journal’s on-line forum, the incident has prompted hundreds of comments.

“I find this totally revolting that a teacher would do such a thing,” wrote one reader who signed in as “Sharley.”

Another who identified himself as “Geo Jetson” wrote: “I have no problem with this thought-provoking experience for some young students. … All you do-gooders and flag wavers and ex-military need to realize that this was not done in a slanderous way.”

The teachers association has been barraged with “an incredible number” of e-mails and calls, some of them vitriolic, Neal said.

“Given the current political climate, the debate over Iraq, terrorism and protecting America, I guess I wasn’t terribly shocked,” he said.