Legal, but unacceptable behavior

Some things may be legally protected by the First Amendment but that doesn’t mean they are smart, patriotic or even good for education.

A South Carolina high school teacher apparently attempting to make a point on First Amendment protection of free speech and free expression was removed from the classroom after school officials learned he had been stomping on an American flag in class.

The teacher took issue with his removal and threatened legal action, to which the school district caved in and responded by paying him his salary through the end of the school year, giving him $85,000 in a lump settlement and paying the teacher’s $32,000 legal expenses. In exchange, the teacher resigned.

Should the teacher have been fired? Was his action a legitimate attempt to teach First Amendment rights? Would the school district have lost a federal action against it that easily could have cost even more than what the district paid in a settlement? Will any other school district be foolish enough to hire the flag-stomping teacher?

To me, it all goes back to common sense. Just because one has the Constitutional right to do something distasteful, degrading, unpatriotic and plain stupid, doesn’t mean they should and not face any consequence for that behavior.

Hopefully, the school district has made it clear to all other teachers in the system that behavior such as stomping on an American flag is not acceptable, no matter what lesson is being taught.

The teacher may have been right, but as my grandfather used to tell me about stopping and making sure others stop at a 4-way stop sign before driving through it: “There’s a lot of right people in the cemetery.”

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It’s going to be a loud summer in the Mid-Ohio Valley as billions of those noisy, irritating cicadas crawl out of their holes after 17 years.

The males come out first as nymphs, which are essentially wingless and silent juveniles, climb on to tree branches and molt one last time, becoming adult winged cicadas. They perch on tree branches and sing, individually or in a chorus. Then when a female comes close, the males change their song, they do a dance and mate.

The red-eyed bugs’ noise has been measured at 94 decibels, which is loud enough to drown out the sound of a jet plane flying overhead.

The males keep mating and eventually the female lays 600 or so eggs on the tip of a branch. The offspring fall off the trees, bounce off the ground and burrow into the earth.

So for a few weeks, we are going to be pestered with the loud noise and falling and burrowing bugs.

Personally, I’d rather have them in the ground for a few more centuries.

* * *

The three women rescued from a Cleveland home where they had been kept captive, repeatedly raped and mentally and physically abused for more than a decade goes beyond comprehension on several levels.

First, how could anyone be so mentally deranged as to kidnap teenage girls and sadistically use them for a decade?

And, just as frightening is for a sadistic tormentor to have so much psychological control over the young women as to leave them unable to attempt to escape their torture. How can anyone have that much control over someone else?

Then there’s the mind-bending realization the women were kept in a house for a decade and no one in the neighborhood was aware of anything out of the normal occurring there. How is that possible?

The horrendous crime makes one wonder how much any of us really know about our neighbors, what could be happening behind closed doors and/or how many other sadistic kidnappers are out there holding other victims in chains?