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In January, TheBlaze reported that a Chapin High School English teacher in Chapin, South Carolina, allegedly threw an American flag on the ground during class instruction and then stomped on it -- an action that drew intense controversy.
Following the incident, Scott Compton was suspended from his job. Now, it's being reported that $85,000 of taxpayer funds was paid out to the educator to avoid a legal challenge following his suspension.
But this isn't the only sum of money that is being afforded to Compton following his controversial actions. Despite being out of the classroom since December, the teacher will continue receiving his salary through June 7, The State reports. Additionally, $31,500 in legal fees will come from taxpayer funds.
The outlet provides additional details leading up to the decision to pay the former teacher following the flag-stomping controversy:
... Taxpayers also will foot the bill for more than $31,500 in attorney fees, records obtained by The State newspaper under a state Freedom of Information Act request show.
The $85,000 payment was described as “a compromise and resolution of disputed claims,” the records say.
It was not disclosed as part of Compton’s resignation, announced March 27, a decision that the settlement says is for “family and personal reasons” not spelled out.
“Prior to his resignation, attorneys for Mr. Compton informed district attorneys that he had prepared a complaint for filing in federal court,” Lexington-Richland 5 spokesman Mark Bounds said.
The payment, according to Bounds, was made in an effort to avoid more extensive legal fees that would be incurred if the teacher decided to sue the Lexington-Richland 5 School District over the incident. The condition of accepting the offer on the former teacher's part is that he cannot pursue defamation claims, nor can he proceed with allegations of emotional distress and breach of contract. He was previously allegedly going to seek damages over these claims.
The State notes that Compton will be given a letter of recommendation to assist with future job prospects and that he was not forced to admit fault in his resignation. Unemployment benefits, too, will not be declined or fought by the district.
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Compton has said that stomping on the flag was not meant to be a disrespectful action and that, instead, it was intended to be a teaching opportunity in which students could learn that the nation is defined by more than the symbols that represent it. The district has maintained, though, that the action taken was inappropriate.
TheBlaze's Jason Howerton previously reported on the story, detailing how it made headlines. Late last year, Michael Copleand, a parent, reported hearing his teenager talking about what her English teacher did with the American flag in the classroom. Subsequently, he pressed to get the whole story.
“He drew a couple of symbols, like one of them was a cross, and he said, ‘What does this represent,’ and everybody said, ‘Christianity,’” Copeland told WIS-TV.
“Then he proceeds to take down the American flag, and said, ‘This is a symbol, but it’s only a piece of cloth. It doesn’t mean anything,’ and then he throws it down on the floor and then stomps on it, repeatedly,” he added. “I asked what was he trying to get, the point across? And she said, ‘I don’t know,’ and he said, his explanation was there would be no consequences, it’s just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything.”
(H/T: BizPac Review)