Illinois Teacher Fired for Stepping on Flag in Class

Board voted 6-0 to dump Jordan Parmenter
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2015 1:56 PM CDT
Illinois Teacher Fired for Stepping on Flag in Class

A different kind of flag controversy is playing out in Martinsville, Illinois, where a high school English teacher has been fired stepping on an American flag during class. The Mattoon Journal Gazette reports the Martinsville school board dismissed Jordan Parmenter on Thursday in a 6-0 vote; the decision was effective immediately. The incident occurred during a May 15 lesson on freedom of speech at Martinsville Junior-Senior High School. Parmenter reportedly shifted his class's attention to a chart by using an American flag as a pointer; a student challenged him on that, branding the move as disrespectful. Parmenter then made what he says was a "terrible error in judgment," per the Journal Gazette: to further illustrate free speech, he dropped the flag and stepped on it.

The class immediately became upset, and outrage apparently followed: WTHI reports flag-carrying protesters gathered outside the school in May, and a press release posted to the school's website on May 19 notes that threats had been made against Parmenter, and had been reported to police. The 26-year-old was put on leave, and penned an apology that he delivered to the school board. A passage: "I believe that ideas such as the nature of symbolism and freedom of expression are valuable topics to discuss in the classroom and that surprise can be a useful tool to use when engaging students, however in this instance I chose a very poor way of addressing this subject. What I did was never intended as a show of disrespect to our country, to our veterans, or to anyone, nor would I ever do or say anything with that intention." Parmenter spoke to the board on Thursday, but apparently to no avail. (More American flag stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.