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A Cumberland County, North Carolina high school teacher was suspended after a lesson involving the First Amendment.

Lee Francis, a teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, stood over an American flag and stopped it, according to ABC News.

Students said Francis tried to burn and cut the flag before dropping it on the floor as part of a lesson on the First Amendment. At least two students walked out of the classroom during the demonstration.

“I put the flag on the ground and I took two steps with my right foot and I said, ‘This is an example of free speech,'” Francis said. “Two students got up and left immediately with no word, no disruption at all…I assumed something had happened. One student came to where I was and took the flag from me.”

Francis has been suspended with pay in connection with the incident until he meets with the superintendent.

Francis, who has relatives in the military, said he did not intend to offend students, but wanted to drive home the Supreme Court’s definition of free speech.

In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Frank Till Jr. said, “Clearly there are other ways to teach First Amendment rights without desecrating a flag. The situation is currently under investigation.”

“I think he’s right, absolutely there could be other ways to teach the subject, but in the same vein the way that I taught it can’t necessarily be wrong,” Francis said.

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