Education

Flags Raise a Flap

August 28, 2006 1 min read

Getting hauled out of the classroom on day two wasn’t exactly how Eric Hamlin had expected to kick off a new year at a new school. But Hamlin, a geography teacher at Carmody Middle School in Lakewood, Colorado, was suspended for allegedly flouting state law. His offense: displaying flags from other countries. Yes, that’s right. Colorado law says that foreign flags may hang in classrooms only when they are relevant to the curriculum. After a little detective work, Principal John Schalk determined that Hamlin had no lessons planned for the immediate future that would relate directly to the flags in question—those of the United Nations, Mexico, and China. Officials, Hamlin said, seemed to think the Mexican flag in particular would “send these seventh graders into a spin and they would start protesting.” When Hamlin refused to remove the flags, the Jefferson County School District had him escorted from his classroom and placed on administrative leave. “We have to uphold state law,” said district spokeswoman Lynn Setzer. The district quickly backpedaled, though—offering to reinstate Hamlin and allow the flags to fly for up to six weeks, at which time he would have to rotate them with the proud banners of other nations. “Our district believes in win-win situations,” said Superintendent Cindy Stevenson. Rather than returning to Carmody, Hamlin has asked to be reassigned to another school. Though he was new at Carmody, this is his fourth year in the Jefferson County district, where he has previously displayed flags from Iraq, Palestine, and other places. “It’s much along the lines of a science teacher who puts up a map of the solar system,” he said. “They may not spend every day and every lesson talking about Mars, but they want the students to see that.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Washington Data Processing Representative - (WAVA)
Tacoma, Washington, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Proposal Writer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read