Kansas teacher's critical thinking class on flag desecration includes flag desecration

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Kansas teacher's critical thinking class on flag desecration includes flag desecration

From KSN3 News:

The Teacher's idiotic response is noteworthy.  I'll parse it here.  First, sayeth our Venerable Educator:

On September 2, 2011 in my American Government class, I did the same lesson plan that I have done each semester for the past few years.  We discussed the case United States v. Eichman, 1990 by looking at both the arguments for the government and the arguments for Eichman.  Since the question to be decided by the courts was whether or not Eichman had violated the Flag Protection Act of 1989 which prohibits anyone who “knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon” a U.S. flag, I gave students two examples of what would be illegal under that law.  First, I dropped my flag that I had purchased with my own money upon the floor.  Then I stepped on my flag to show them what “physically defiles” would mean. 

Am I really to understand that this teacher is discussing Supreme Court precedent with a group of students who are unable on their own to decipher what "tramples" means without show and tell?  Um, really?  Here's a partial list of things I would suggest she consider teaching:

  • Child Soldiers in Africa: load the students down with sacks of sugar, and make them walk through the woods all day.
  • Illegal Immigration: can be run in connection with gym class.
  • Abortion: some of these kids may want to be premed, best to start them early.

I really have a hard time believing that her students are so ignorant that they couldn't figure out these concepts on their own.

She continues:

We then looked at both sides of the debate and the court’s ruling, while I moved around the room.  We talked about what the flag stands for and whether it’s the cloth that is important or the freedom for which it stands.  We talked about how our military has fought and died for our freedom.  We talked about how what is offensive to someone varies from person to person.  We talked about how public opinion doesn’t mean that we ban something.  We talked about how since the court had struck down both state and federal law, the only way to ban flag burning now would be the passage of a Constitutional amendment, which has been tried, but failed numerous times.

 I can't help but wonder if there were other things included in this class.  For instance, based on what I am reading here, this teacher is perfectly comfortable with "hate words" being used in class right?  After all, there is no objective "offensiveness" and thus, pretty much anything should do, right?  I mean, throw out the prevailing local standard, and just go with, "whatever you want is cool with me. "   Presumably also this teacher advocates teaching about the Great Spaghetti Monster as part of a theology class as well, since Public Opinion shouldn't be used to ban something.

She then says one of the stupidest things I ever read on this subject, the same asinine argument that comes up literally every time:

We even saw a picture of President Bush doing the very thing I had just done, standing on a flag that was stitched onto a floor rug.


Usually the argument falls along the Flag Napkin, Flag Shirt, Flag Boxers etc line of thinking.  But seriously, does anyone in the world think that someone took a flag, and then stitched it (affixed it) to a rug?  No, that is not a flag lady, it is a rug.  The difference between a flag and a rug is obvious to a 4 year old, but is apparently too illusive for her to divine.  Let me help you out: a flag is something that can be affixed to a pole.  If the item in question can not be affixed to a pole, it is not flag.  A napkin for instance, yes, one might use a nail gun and hitch it up to a 2x4, but when was the last time you saw that?  Likewise, how many times have you walked by the Post Office, and looked up to see a shirt dangling from the pole?  I'm going to guess zero.

There are many things that one can do legally that are just idiotic.  (LIstening to Lady GaGa leaps to mind.)  Just because you *can* do something doesn't mean that you *should* do something, and certainly not that you should be showing minors how to do them.  If this lady can't teach critical thinking without stepping on the flag, maybe she should be searching for a new occupation. 


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I agree that she could probably teach these kids without the demonstration. I don’t think that the students are so slow they can’t comprehend the point of the lecture so much as the regard the teacher holds for her students must make her think her students are so inept as to not be able to understand her point through verbal lecture. It is her right to desecrate the flag. But, each time she does so she insults me. More so she insults my great uncle who died on Bougainville, my cousin who was killed in Viet Nam, and all of my friends who died in Lebanon, Iraq, and Pakistan. I would like to know this teachers back ground. How was she raised? What schools did she attend? To know this would be to know why she has chosen this way of educating our children. One thing is for sure. She has shown them two sides of the coin now. I don’t condemn her for her actions. I do question her motives. I hope the students realize from this that yes we have certain rights in our society but that along with these rights we have responsibilities and must also be responsible for our actions and face the consequences of these actions. We have the right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness so long as it does not interfere with the rights of others. She did not infringe on my rights by doing this. If she were teaching my child I would be pretty upset because I taught my son to honor God, family, and country. I would lodge a protest with the school board about her teaching this and proceed to discuss her actions with my son. I would probably spent a day or two with my veteran brothers protesting as well.

On any talk about this topic I am reminded of a comment in a recorded speech I once heard - "Any country that allows it's flag to be burned, will soon burn it's book's! When that happens, it won't be long till they start burning their people!!!" Winston Churchill, 1939; about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany! And I can't help but wonder - "Have we sunk that low???"

Just another liberal idiot. Our classrooms are full of them and that is a large part of the problem. I wonder if she would use the same teaching practices to demonstrate gang rape? Hell's Angels might be willing to work off some community service time with her. (tic)

ok maybe she could done without the actual demonstration of stepping on a flag .... BUT

Seriously ... A Hitler reference ... really? ... gang rape?? .... you people need to get a grip.

So here I add section 8 of the flag code .... I do this as I total disagree with Mothax that it is just a rug ... If the impression of the flag is on the rug .. it becomes a FLAG.

§8. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning

I'm not sure of where a representation of something else ever become the first.  A bust of Abraham Limcoln is still a bust, not Abraham Lincoln.  I would suggest a flag is a flag, a rug is a rug.  If you note the portion about lapel flag pins, it even there states that it is a "replica" and not an actual flag, so not sure I agree.

But, thank you for the comment.  Disagree with me more!  :) 


Sometimes you really stretch your examples .. carbon based human compared to a bronze bust .... hmmmm .... lets try something more apples to apples .. my birth certificate is a copy (replica) but is treated like an original ... hence it notes that we should treat the replica with the same respect as an actual flag .... "Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart." ...... being a replica should be treated like an original ......

this leads me to this line:

The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

Note the use of the word impression .... now back to the rug .. the impression of the flag on the rug being a replica of the flag should be treated as a real flag ....

I hate to be on the side of somebody burning the flag, but really - is this really newsworthy?

Walmart has UNDERWEAR that are the flag! Where is the outrage? Where are the American Legion newsletters and articles? People actually buy these thinking that they are being patriotic; along with t-shirts, sleep pants, tank tops, hats scarves, socks, etc, etc, etc. At least flag burners realize the effect that their actions have.

Does the critical thinking class 'require' that a flag be desecrated so that the students understand? I doubt it. Should the critical thinking that is being taught be applied to the hypocrisy of ignoring a big business who is cashing in on desecrating the flag in favor of attacking somebody practicing their freedom of speech? NO!

Well said.

This line of senseless banter is exactly why the flag amendment continues to fail. What exactly is meant as a flag? It is a tough description indeed when we think about all of the red, white, and blue clothes and ornaments we adorn ourselves with. What this all boils down to is respect. Respect for the symbol of our nation, respect for our country, respect for our communities, and respect for ourselves.

It is not the act that is offensive, it is the statement behind the meaning. No American law will ever be able to stop people who wish to make a name for themselves by acting outrageously, just look at Westboro Baptist Church. In my opinion, burning or purposely defiling an American flag is equivalent to using the sad occasion of soldiers funerals to create a sensational news event by spewing vulgar comments about men and women you never even knew.

I spent 22 years defending America and what she stands for. I do not like or condone flag burning or other purposeful defiling acts against old glory, but I will continue to defend your right to do so for as long as I live, because that is what it means to be an American.

So, you have a teacher whose job it is to teach American Government, and her pupils are such slow learners that she has to desecrate the flag to prove a point? I think the school she teaches in ought to be evaluated for keeping her hired, and the community should have her and her "slow learners" evaluated for possible lobotomies. I can't imagine an American Government teacher doing such a thing as desecrating the American flag, unless she is a creeton who graduated from UC Berkley in the 1960's, and if that's the case, I know why she did what she did, and I can understand the school administrators who hired her. If she is the type of teacher Obama wants to spend billions of dollars on to keep our classrooms from failing, then I got news for everyone; they're already failing, Obama's failing, and it's because of radicals our whole educational system is failing.

Earlier this year, my wife and I drove down to Washington D. C. to visit some of the museums of the Smithsonian Institute. In the American History museum we saw the display of the original “Star Spangled Banner”. I grew up and lived in the Baltimore metro area all of my life (61 years). I have been to Ft. Mc Henry dozens of times and know by heart all of the events that led up to Francis Scott Key writing of the poem, “The State Spangled Banner”. Yet this was the first time I was able to see this flag in person. I can’t tell you all of the emotions that welled up in me when I first gazed upon the flag that inspired the poem that ultimately became our national anthem.
While we strolled through the rest of the exhibit, I met a family from Australia who were in this country on holiday. We had some small talk and then the patriarch of the family said that he was amazed and puzzled by the emotional attachment that Americans have for their flag. He said that most other counties, including Australia don’t get nearly as upset as Americans when their flag is desecrated or destroyed After all, it is just a piece of cloth! I was surprised by his comment and it made me pause and reflect about what he had said.
I responded by saying that our flag is more to us than just a piece of cloth. It is a sacred symbol of our country, the principals upon which it was founded and those who died defending these principals and ideals. I suggested that he take a trip up north to Baltimore and visit Ft. Mc Henry take the tour and watch the movie at the end of that tour. Then he might better understand why we love our flag so much.


I would have been ok with her showing pictures of people descrating the flag -- particularly if she added that while this is an expression of free speech that it is NOT APPROPRIATE and that those that do so should be ashamed.

This woman really is a moron-no wonder children are coming out of school less educated than ever before, inspite of all of the advances in technology. Perhaps for her next demonstration, she should demonstrate self-immolation and set herself on fire in front of her class. I've got a match...

The students should also be taught that for every action there is an equal re-action. For the teacher to trample the American flag is just more indoctrination of young minds teaching them nothing is important.

Any student that reacted by knocking this "teacher" on her butt should be protected as well since that is also "critical thinking".

I was raised to show respect to others and Our country and those who fought for Our Freedoms. Having family members who had done so and some who still showed the signs of War I understood what was meant. I enlisted in 1968 in the Army and saw first hand how lucky I was to have been born in America under the Flag that so many had fought and died under. It also didn't take long before I saw so many brave men being buried under that same flag. After getting out I went to work full time for the fire service, most of the guys were Veterans and we all showed the same respect for the flag, and agreed that NO ONE would burn on on Our Watch! I am now retired after many years and can say no one every burnt one or has desecrated a flag in or around me. I think that the main thing is all the men and women who has fought and died for Our Flag to disrespect it is saying their deaths didn't count for anything. But how much I disagree with what the teacher did and how wrong it was, I must say how much it sickens me to see the President of the United States show disrespect to Our Flag, The Pledge and the Office of Presidency as he has, no wonder people feel its no big deal to desecrate the flag or to show disrespect to all who has died and fought, still fighting Under IT!!

The American Flag represents a new nation that was created because the original people who broke away from England and founded this new country wanted to be free. As this country expanded and grew in size over the years additional stars were added to indicate new states being added.
To this day, "The American Flag" is the oldest surviving, living entity that represents who we are as a nation and as 50 states.
When she is disgraced, the one doing so shows disgrace for 300,000,000 people and it is an abomination against all that our founding fathers and our Veterans sacrificed on "The Altar of Freedom".
Now, I served my country proudly for 6 years from 1966 to 1972 and when I was in Vietnam, my daily encouragement was saluting the American Flag each day and saying in my heart, I am doing this for all of you in America.
The American Flag lives because we live and when we put no value on her any more, we are doomed as a Nation. One of the biggest mistakes in the educational system today is that the "NO ONE LEFT BEHIND" program shoves students through the system and they learn (NOTHING) of the value of "The American Flag", "Their Country" and how difficult it was to gain the Freedom we have today.
This teacher should be identified and made a public spectical of and branded as "UN-AMERICAN'

I am not ashamed to put my email address to this either: jeffreymcbreairty@sbcglobal.net

Proud American and Veteran who would give up his life for "The American Flag".

A flag is a flag, a rug is a rug and underwear is underwear. If you don't know the difference you need some serious help.

This just proves to me even more that I SHOULD home school my son and teach him the CORRECT way to do things and how to respect those around him.

We wonder why our kids don't know history!!

I question her intent on the way she is teaching her students. I queston the School Board on what their thoughts are with the way she is (Not Teaching) teaching and if they should have her receive a Mental E-Val. My wife taught for 25 years and this would never have happen in her class are even in the school system she taught in. Public eduction is out of hand as is most of the Jails in the USA with the Con's running the system. This Country has better Wake Up from the way's we are traveling down the Wrong Road to a Third World Country. Everyone that has any respect for our Way of Life and the Country should start thinking and pushing for a REAL Change in 2012 and get the idea of why should I vote they do what they want in DC anyway. This is the wrong way of keeping our country the way it was a few years ago. I make sure I Vote each time there is any election in my District for local, state or federal elections because this is where it starts from with those going to Washington. Vote My Friends!

I know that there are many ways to look at this. My kids know how to properly display and fold our flag. I also know that if it were not for people like the Westboro Baptist Church the Patriot Gaurd would not exsist. We would have said a silent prayer at work for our fallen comrad and continued with our lives thankfull that there are still young men and women willing to sacrifice for our country and our way of life. Because of the people who use the freedoms that we have defended to desicrate what we hold sacred, we now take vacation and sick time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
I do not agree with them but I do use these occasions to talk to my kids about the freedoms that we have and the responibility that comes with these freedoms.
In closing, the school should be teaching more about the english language so that the students can speak or write about thier disagreements with the government. Freedom of speach and freedom of the press are guarenteed in the constitution. Freedom of expession was a court ruling put into place for those too stupid to properly express themselves in the written or spoken word.

I have a lvery brief commen. II was on Iwo Jima and I would have loved to have seen that teacher desicrate the flag that we raised on that sepecial day. We all had tears in our eyes while watching that flag getting raised while looking at our dead buddies and friends lyiing in rows on the beach I'm afraid she would have been buried with dishoners the next day.
Semper Pi Marines.

There seem to be a lot of creative teachers who want to inspire students to learn, and challenge students' assumptions. That is a good thing.

Every so often, these teachers need to challenge their own assumptions, i.e., that they are correct in breaking rules to show what breaking rules looks like.

The point the teacher seems to have missed when they "...talked about how our military has fought and died for our freedom" is how many brave soldiers have died protecting the flag in battle. How many have risked death to snatch up a fallen flag and hoist it aloft again.

The teacher seems to have not understood that by observing the flag code, a person shows simple respect for the country and freedom it symbolizes.

When you burn a flag during a political demonstration, it shows you have lost respect for the country and want it changed. When you burn a worn-out flag in a bonfire, after separating the field of stars from the stripes, you show respect for both the flag and the country it represents.

You don't have to trample the flag to discuss laws, opinions and freedom.

As a disabled vet and former educator, I would say it appears this teacher succeded in the purpose of her class. CRITICAL THINKING!

Like everyone else here I'm a veteran so from that point we are all the same but for the most part I disagree with most of you. While I personally would never desecrate the flag the wonderful thing about this country is her right to do so. Now I take a different view from most and I don't take offense by her actions but then I don't look at the flag as a sacred item but more of a sacred idea of our country and what it stands for and that idea can't be desecrated. Within this country we have used the flag for everything from what is was intended for to using in on cloths or anything else that can be sold. According to Webster’s the definition of a flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration.

Randy, I grew up in a very poor family. My grandparents were from the hills of Appalachia. Granny demanded that I never pledge allegiance to anything short of God. While today I question even the "God" portion of it all, I think she was right. The flag represents some very high hopes and ideals. In and of itself, it's a flag.

I lucked out and didn't have to set foot in Nam. I was young and curious, but after living with 120 guys who were there I'm glad I missed the show.

Your words remind me of an experience I had ten years after. I was flying slicks at the time. In the platoon we had a senior pilot whom I admired greatly. One day a friend and I were discussing Jane Fonda. I despised her with a vengeance. In my opinion the crap she pulled in Hanoi went too far. Jim served three tours in Nam- one slick and two DUSTOFF. He was also a major promotable who got caught in the great RIF. I asked his opinion. He said he fought in Vietnam so she could have the freedom to do as she chose and speak what she thought. His words gave me pause to think. In the end, I respect all who fought in any war and still think she went too far in Hanoi- though the hatred is gone. There it is, I suppose.

The flag should not be desecrated for any reason.


I ain't' git no problem with folks spendin my tax money uglyin up thar flag. I reckon they ain't git no problem with folks scratchin a Rebel Flag on the hood of thar Obama-bumper car neither. Tain't nothin purtier than a Rebel Flag on a Obama-lovin liberal! I seen some folks etch a Cross on them communist cars - God Bless 'em!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.