COLUMBIA, S.C. --School district officials allege that teacher Scott Compton's stomping of the U.S. flag at Chapin High School in Chapin, S.C., is part of a series of actions that warrant his dismissal.
In Compton's termination letter, obtained by The State newspaper through a state Freedom of Information Act request, the superintendent of District 5 of Lexington and Richland counties says the flag stomping is the latest incident in "a pattern of poor judgment."
But Darryl Smalls, Compton's lawyer, said Wednesday the additional allegations are "simply a ploy to pull at any straw the district can find to discredit" Compton.
School board members will decide Compton's fate in a closed-door session that he requested, tentatively set for March 5.
A Jan. 15 letter to Compton from Superintendent Stephen Hefner alleges two concerns besides the flag stomping:
A liquor ad appeared a year ago in Chapin High's student newspaper while Compton was the adviser. Superiors warned Compton about "failure to consistently demonstrate appropriate judgment in your interaction with school staff," though no details were given. The warnings occurred in a conversation for which there is no written record, school district spokesman Mark Bounds said.
Those episodes display a lack of "sound professional judgment" that further merit firing, Hefner told Compton.
But Smalls called the complaints off-base.
A recipe for a cocktail was included on a prepared page of stories offered to student newspapers nationwide from McClatchy-Tribune News Service, a joint venture by the parent company of The State newspaper. It was unclear Wednesday if the district paid for the content -- celebrating Leap Year in 2012 -- as part of a subscription to the service.
The inclusion of the recipe slipped by Compton and other school staff -- including principals -- in a review prior to publication, Smalls alleges.