Stanley Co. School Responds to ‘Flag Flap’ [UPDATE]
After seeing the American flag being disrespected several times, Cesar Zakahi finally had enough. The Stanley County School District custodian posted a picture of proof on his Facebook page over the weekend, and was fired Monday morning.
Cesar claimed that a fellow female janitor had been throwing the flag on a shelf in the corner of the school's boiler room for several months. He claims he had complained many times to the school's superintendent about the flag's treatment and decided to take matters into his own hands.
The short video, above, was posted on Cesar's Facebook page along with this quote:
“I was fired from this job for telling friends on Facebook about a coworker throwing our flags the US, and southdakota flags in a heap like rags.”
Flags are suppose to be folded and neatly stored when not flying proud. The video shows the American flag along with the South Dakota flag crumpled up in the schools boiler room.
Superintendent Don Hotalling has confirmed with the Argus Leader that Zakahi is no longer employed with the school district and says the firing has nothing to do with the video.
“All I can say is, whoever arranged that flag in that condition should be ashamed of themselves. But I have no evidence that it was one of our current employees.”
Cesar Zakahi continued in a Facebook post:
Hello I am Cesar zakahi i am the guy that got fired for posting the US flag being disrespected at my work, i was born and raised in South Dakota, i am a disabled vet, i in would do this again even though it cost my job to stop the disrespect of the flag."
Zakahi has since hired a lawyer.
When all of the dust settles as to who did what and the reasons for the termination surface, there is still the matter of our American flag shamefully crumpled in a dirty boiler room.
How do you suppose a veteran would feel about seeing this?
UPDATE: In response to the amount of attention this story has received, the Stanley County school board president, Sarah Carter, posted this response on their website:
Each day we raise the United States and South Dakota flags with pride to welcome our students. We have tremendous respect for each flag and take this allegation very seriously. On January 31, 2103 we received an allegation involving the storage of our flags. We immediately began to investigate the allegation. The result of our investigation did not reflect a mishandling of either flag. We question the circumstances surrounding this matter and whether the pictures currently circulating are an accurate reflection of how the flags were stored. Regardless, we have taken measures to ensure that each flag is being properly cared for on a daily basis. The Stanley County School District does not now, nor has it ever tolerated disrespect of either flag.
We take this allegation seriously. We actively support our troops and veterans and their families. We acknowledge and share the concerns which have been put forth in the community. These are serious matters which have and will continue to receive serious consideration.
At present the matter is a personnel issue that must be dealt with according to law and established policy. The district will continue to respect the law and policy and also the confidentiality of personnel matters involving employees of the district.
The Stanley County School District stands behind its decisions and adamantly denies any allegation that the personnel decision was based on reporting of any mishandling of either flag. The United States and South Dakota flags represent the very values we are committed to instilling in our youth. We will continue to instill these values by modeling the appropriate treatment of each flag.
Source: Cesar Zakahi Facebook page, Associated Press, Capital Journal