PADUCAH, Ky. — A western Kentucky art teacher has apologized for placing an American flag on the floor as part of an art project and seeing it stepped on.
Shand Stamper, who teaches McCracken County High School, said the project was student-directed and one she didn’t specifically assign. The students in her art history class wrote essays about certain pieces of art and then chose to express the pieces, using a variety of interactive methods including performance art, spoken word and re-enactments.
The Paducah Sun reported Stamper sent a written letter of apology on Wednesday to school administrators.
The display re-created “Dread” Scott Tyler’s 1989 installation titled “The Proper Way to Display an American Flag,” which was part of a student exhibition at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Tyler’s piece included a mounted shelf below photographs of the American flag and the flag on the ground.
The instructions asked visitors to record their thoughts about the display but because of the notebook’s placement, visitors had to step on the flag to get to the book.
McCracken County High School Principal Michael Ceglinski told WKYX-AM he was notified about the assignment Monday afternoon.
“We had an administrator that walked up on the scene and immediately took the flag up off the floor with another student, and folded it in its proper manner,” Ceglinski said.
Stamper said she wanted her students to look, ask questions, and get to know the flag and the values behind the icon.
“My intention was for my students to talk intellectually about what they were doing and why,” Stamper said.
Supt. Nancy Waldrop confirmed that an investigation is ongoing but wouldn’t comment further.