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Teacher who stomped on flag in front of class gets $85K settlement

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CHAPIN, SC (WIS) -

A Midlands teacher who made national headlines after stomping on an American flag in front of his classes has been paid $85,000 and remains on paid administrative leave until the end of the school year when his resignation takes effect.

Chapin High School English teacher Scott Compton agreed to the $85,000 settlement from the district's insurance carrier in late March, according to documents obtained by WIS through the Freedom of Information Act. 

Mark Bounds, spokesman for the District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, says the district's insurance carrier made the decision to make a monetary payment to Compton after the teacher's attorney notified the district he had prepared a complaint for filing in federal court.

"Upon receiving that information, the District's attorneys advised the District's insurance carrier that a lawsuit was going to be filed by Mr. Compton," said Bounds.

"Based on financial considerations related to anticipated legal fees to defend such a suit, the Insurer made the decision to make a monetary [payment] to Mr. Compton," said Bounds.

"We are glad this issue is resolved," said Bounds. "The resolution is in the best interest of the district, our teachers and the children we serve."

The district since January 1 has been billed approximately $31,400 for legal fees related to the case.

Compton resigned in late March due to "personal and family reasons," according to district records. He will remain on paid administrative leave through the end of the 2012-2013 school year when his resignation goes into effect on June 7.

"All parties agreed that his resignation is in the best interest of everyone who was directly involved in this matter," said Bounds. 

Compton, who has been a teacher for 12 years, was placed on administrative leave with pay from the district following the December 2012 incident that received nationwide attention. His last day in class was December 13.

Students who were in the honors English class that day said Compton placed the American flag on the ground and stomped on it. He repeated the lesson in three classes that day, prompting a full investigation.

The teacher's attorney, Darryl D. Smalls, says Compton was teaching a lesson on symbolism as part of a unit on All Quiet on the Western Front and "nothing more."

"At no point and in no way, shape or form was this lesson a negative commentary on America. It was quite the opposite," said Smalls.

The district placed Compton on leave after parents characterized the lessons as disrespectful and unpatriotic.

After a district investigation, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner on January 10 made the recommendation to the school board to fire Compton.

Compton asked for a hearing before the board to appeal the decision. After several delays, that meeting never happened. Instead, Compton's attorney and the district worked out the teacher's exit.

Hefner then withdrew his recommendation after Compton agreed to resign.

As part of the agreement, Chapin High School Principal Dr. Akil Ross furnished a letter of recommendation to Compton to submit to prospective employers.

A WIS request to Compton's attorney for comment on the settlement has received no response.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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