PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - An Arnold High School teacher is under fire after a picture surfaced of an upside down flag hanging in his classroom. A student's parent posted the picture of the upside down flag on Facebook.
"She said mom, you are going to be really upset but I'm going to send you a picture. So she sends me a picture of the flag upside down. So immediately I called the school....You know they walk in and that's what they see, some of them probably didn't know what it meant," said Kelly Miller.
An upside down flag is a signal of distress, meaning it it only supposed to be upside down if a person is in dire distress or extreme danger. The flag was displayed in Erik Cobb's 12th grade English class. Arnold High School officials told News 13 they spoke with Cobb right after they received the complaint. They say the situation was corrected immediately, and they do not anticipate taking any further action. Cobb also posted an explanation on Facebook that mirrors what the school district told News 13 about the incident, but the post has since been deleted. He said he turned the flag upside down as a possible part of a learning experience for his students to teach them about persuasive writing and thinking.
He commented that it was part of a discussion of literature in English class. Cobb also said it was a way for him to teach his students to accept diverse views. However, Miller doesn't agree.
"Everybody has their own opinions, mine is that that is disrespectful because we are not in distress," said Miller. This is not the first time Cobb has been in trouble. In the past, Cobb has been in trouble for a number of classroom incidents, including concerns back in January 2011 about his language use in the classroom. He was given a formal reprimand in March 2009 for language use, and was suspended for four days without pay in January 2015 over a profanity filled letter to students.
Miller says she hopes this incident can teach people a lesson.
"Teachers, leave your personal views at home, it's not what school is for. It's so educate our children."
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