A Texas teacher is under fire after she hung a classroom flag upside down after the election.
Harker Heights High School parents said their children came home the day after the election complaining that their history teacher, Sharon Smitherman was so upset about the results that she hung the classroom flag upside down.
“After the pledge of allegiance the teacher asked did they notice anything different about the classroom and the children said ‘no.’ She went on to tell them that the flag is upside down and the reason that the flag is upside down is because our nation is in distress and we are turning into a socialist nation,” said Dwayne Brown, whose daughter is an 11th grader at the school.
Brown asked his daughter “‘Well what do you want to do?’ She said the principal needed to know. So we sat down and we wrote an email and sent it to the principal,” Brown said.
Harker Heights, which is located just outside the Ft. Hood military base, is home to over 2,300 students, most of who are soldiers’ children.
Rhonda Howard, a military veteran who has served three deployments to Iraq, initially heard about the incident from her coworkers and later asked her son about it.
“I asked him ‘Have you heard anything about a teacher and a flag?’ He said, ‘Yes ma’am. That’s Ms. Smitherman. She’s my third period history teacher.’ So I said, ‘Why did she say that she turned the flag upside down like that?’ He said, ‘She said our nation is in distress because of the President,’ Howard said.
She and other outraged parents immediately called administrators, created a petition for disciplinary action and made several attempts to publicize the incident on local news outlets.
“The principal just stated that he would speak to her. But that’s not good enough,” Howard expressed. “And I know some people called the local news and they’re kind of brushing it under the rug.”
Howard believes that Smithersman’s behavior disrespects the close-knit military city especially when some of the students’ have lost a parent in the war.
“If you’ve ever been to Fort Hood, people are very serious about the military. That’s what we are, a military community,” Howard said.
Calls to Harker Heights High School Principal David Manly were not returned. However, Killeen School District did address the issue.
“The incident was investigated and handled appropriately on the campus and we cannot discuss personnel matters,” said district spokesperson Leslie Gilmore.