Jordan Parmenter has been fired for having stepped on a United States flag. The English teacher, who taught at the Martinsville Junior-Senior High School in the eastern part of Illinois, did the action during a lesson he gave on free speech on May 15, 2015. While Parmenter was placed on leave shortly after having engaged in the incident, he has now been dismissed by the Martinsville School District’s school board which voted 6-to-0 to fire him, says the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday.
According to Parmenter, he used a small United States flag as a pointer during a lesson on free speech at the school he taught in. When a student complained that he was being disrespectful, according to Parmenter, he then stepped on the flag as an example of free speech. Though he is willing to tell how the incident went down, he has not commented about his having lost his job over the incident. All he has said is that he will be speaking to his union representative about the school board having fired him over the incident.
Superintendent Jill Rogers, of the Martinsville Jr.-Sr. High School, released a written statement regarding the incident back on May 18. According to the Martinsville Jr.-Sr. High School website, the superintendent’s statement said that she was aware of the incident and put the teacher on leave. Her statement said that she was putting the teacher on leave until the end of the school year while an investigation into the incident was to be conducted. At that time, she asserted that no action would be taken until the June school board meeting.
In that initial press released-statement, Rogers said that “the District recognizes that the community is upset about the situation and is seeking answers.” She went on to write, “The Board and the administration respect the community’s right to express their objection to this teacher’s behavior.” She also asked that any demonstration be done peacefully and off school grounds to avoid disruption to the end of the school year – and she appropriately said that if anyone protested on school grounds, he or she would be asked to leave for the safety and security of the students.
Initially, for the teacher’s safety, the superintendent’s press release did not give the name of the teacher as there were threats already having been made against the teacher on Facebook for his having stepped on the United States flag. The public was asked to react non-violently and non-threateningly to the situation. The school is located at 300 West Cumberland in Martinsville, Illinois, according to the Martinsville Jr-Sr High School website.