Jeffco Reinstates Teacher

August 25 2006, 5:44 AM

At least someone in the Jefferson County school system has a modicum of sense. Eric Hamlin, the teacher suspended Wednesday for displaying the flags of multiple nations in his middle-school geography class has been reinstated. Even his flags will be welcome.

Principal John Schalk suspended Hamlin Wednesday from the Lakewood school for violating a state law against displaying foreign flags on public property. School district officials acknowledged Thursday that the three foreign flags in Hamlin's class fall under an exception for educational displays. The seventh-grade teacher has more than 50 flags, purchased at his own expense, that he uses during the course of the school year.

As Hamlin says, the flags represent diversity. Diversity is something all students should learn about every day, along with tolerance. But the matter isn't fully laid to rest:

Hamlin still faces charges of insubordination for violating an order to remove the flags. He has already received a letter of reprimand, Setzer said. Hamlin said he'll be meeting with Schalk this afternoon.

Soldiers don't have to follow illegal orders, why should teachers? If the order had been to take his pants off, should he be penalized for refusing? Since his flags didn't violate any statute or policy, I don't think he should be penalized for not following the order to remove them. Am I wrong?