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Lee Francis, a high school history teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was suspended in September for stepping on the American flag during a lesson about First Amendment rights.

On Wednesday during a Cumberland County school board meeting, Francis will learn whether or not he will be stripped of his teacher’s license for demonstrating the principles of free speech in America.

Francis, who has been relegated to working in a warehouse at the school after his suspension, spoke with Roland Martin about the case during a NewsOne Now / Tom Joyner Morning Show simulcast. During his classroom demonstration, he tapped the flag with his foot a couple of times. This act prompted two of his students to walk out of class and complain.

According to Francis, his actions were not an act of defiance, he was attempting to explain what “symbolic speech is,” a concept his students had struggled to grasp.

If Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till, Jr. decides to rescind Francis’ teachers license, the educator would not be permitted to teach in any public school within the United States.

Francis said, “If he pulls my license I don’t teach in the county, I don’t teach in the state and by extension, I don’t get reciprocity in other states to teach in the country. And so he has the power to completely prevent me from teaching in public schools.”

Alternatively, if Superintendent Till yanks Francis’ license, he would still be eligible to teach at a charter school.

Watch Roland Martin and Lee Francis discuss the fallout over his freedom of speech lesson in the video clip above.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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