School art project encourages students to step on American flag
Public school, public money. Not exactly what most of us would recommend as far as art is concerned.
Students at a Kentucky high school were encouraged to step on an American flag that had been placed on the floor as part of an art display, outraging parents and students.
The display at McCracken County High School, was a re-creation of "Dread" Scott Tyler's 1989 installation titled "The Proper Way to Display an American Flag."
A photograph shows a music stand on top of the flag that had been placed in a hallway, in a story first reported by Kathleen Fox, a reporter with The Paducah Sun.
As part of the art exhibit, students were encouraged to stand on the flag and write their reflections on how they felt standing on the flag.
Local residents filled social networking sites with their outrage over the flag desecration with many calling for the art teacher to be fired.
"The teacher should be fired and run out of town," wrote one outraged Paducah resident. "I have a son serving to protect this flag at this very moment."
"It is a sad day when the symbol of this great nation is relegated to occupy the floor," a reader wrote. "It is a truly sorrowful day when the one who placed it there has the nerve to ask, 'How does it make you feel?'"
"I doubt this teacher intended the disrespect her art project exhibited," one reader wrote. "But nonetheless, it was really a despicable assignment."
Art teacher Shand Stamper has since apologized for the controversial art display - telling The Paducah Sun that it was not a specifically assigned project. The newspaper reported she sent a written letter of apology to school administrators.
"I love our flag and the nation it stands for. I love the freedom I enjoy because of our brave veterans. I feel sick and deeply sad that through my actions I have dishonored these men and women and also poorly represented you all," she wrote in a letter obtained by the newspaper. "(To say) I am devastated by my actions bringing outrage and negativity on you is a gross understatement."
I'm as outraged as anyone about this "art" project but wouldn't you like to see the same kind of outrage when the flag is desecrated by commercial enterprises who shamlessly use our national symbol in inappropriate ways?
Using the flag to sell commercial products is just as much a desecration as walking on it. Either you treat the flag with respect or you don't - there is very little middle ground. And respecting the flag means honoring what it represents, not exploiting it as a national symbol to sell cars, or T-Shirts, or any other product.
The clueless art teacher claims she loves the flag as much as anyone and didn't realize the controversy that would ensue. The principle - equally tone deaf - has accepted her "error in judgment" and no further disciplinary action will be taken.
This kind of extreme abuse of the flag warrants a few heads to roll.