Española, NM– An Española middle school principal Robert Archuleta, is contacting the FBI to try to get a student expelled after some students were caught misbehaving, and one 14-year-old allegedly took it too far.
Four rambunctious students were throwing workbooks and erasers out of their 8th-grade classroom window, when one student grabbed the flag and tossed it out the window and into the snow with the other items.
The enraged principal contacted the school resource officer, presumably to have him arrested, but believing it to be a federal offense, he was referred to the FBI.
“A lot of men have died over [the flag], men and women,” Archuleta, who is a veteran and comes from a military family told KRQE. “We fought to keep our country safe and to keep it free.”
“Died over the flag”? Nobody in history has ever died for a flag. People have died for the rights and freedoms that a flag represents, which includes the right to desecrate the flag, even if you find it horribly offensive.
Until 1969, any display of “contempt” directed against the flag was illegal. That changed when the supreme court ruled it was protected under the First Amendment, you know, that Constitution the flag represents.
In 1984, outside the Republican National Convention, Gregory Lee Johnson burned a flag in protest against Reagan’s policies. Johnson was subsequently arrested, however, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court squashed flag desecration laws by deciding that it is a constitutionally protected form of free speech.
Archuleta claims to know that flag desecration is protected under the first amendment but cited a federal law that he believes overrides those pesky constitutionally protected rights he “fought for.”
In the past 20 years, Congress has repeatedly attempted to overrule the Texas v Johnson decision by trying to pass a constitutional amendment allowing the government to prohibit flag desecration. The amendment has passed in the Senate, but failed in the House, every time it has been introduced since 1994.
The 8th-grade student was suspended for ten days following the incident. However, Archuleta believes that isn’t enough and will be pushing for long-term suspension or expulsion at a hearing on Thursday where the district will have to make a decision.
Many local parents are skeptical over Archuleta’s harsh punishment for the student who was trying to get some laughs from his friends.
“I can understand where he’s coming from because we do need to respect our American flag, but to go that far in trying to teach him a lesson, I think might even hurt him down the road,” Curtis Schattschneider told KRQE.