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A North Carolina high school teacher has been placed on leave after a photo of him stomping on an American flag during class surfaced.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that Massey Hill Classical High School history teacher Lee Francis says he desecrated the stars and stripes as part of a lesson about the First Amendment.

Students said that Francis asked the class for a lighter or scissors, and when no one produced them, he put the flag on the floor and stomped on it.

After a photo of him with his foot on the flag was posted on Facebook, Francis was informed by the school district’s human resources department that he would be placed on paid leave until an investigation is complete.

“It’s really disconcerting,” he said. “My question to everyone is, who is entitled to freedom of speech? Does everyone have access to freedom of speech? It’s unfortunate that all this has happened.”

Francis said he is scheduled to meet with Cumberland County Schools system officials Thursday to discuss the incident.

“Clearly, there are other ways to teach First Amendment rights without desecrating the flag,” superintendent Frank Till said in a statement released Tuesday.

Alex Dunn, who snapped a photo of Francis, said on Fox & Friends that he was shocked and heartbroken when his teacher stepped on the flag. 

Dunn said after he took the picture, he stood up, grabbed the flag off the floor and went to the principal.

"We understand why he did it, we just don't think he should have taught it that way," said Dunn. 

He lamented that it's "becoming a norm" among many young people not to be patriotic.

"That's something I honestly fear. A country that isn't patriotic about itself is ultimately doomed."

Should the teacher keep his job? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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