School janitor fired after exposing disrespect of American flag

American flag improperly storedSchool janitor Cesar Zakahi of Fort Pierre, S.D., was fired by the Stanley County School District on Monday after posting photos on Facebook of a co-worker disrespecting the American flag.

Superintendent Don Hotalling confirmed that Zakahi, a disabled veteran, no longer works for the school district, but he said it wasn’t because of the photos, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Zakahi said he posted the photos out of frustration because the co-worker has not changed the way she was handling the flag after he complained to the district superintendent.

“I told him he hadn’t taken care of it yet. She’s been doing this for two months and you guys won’t do anything about it, so I took the only means necessary to try to get her to stop doing it,” Zakahi told KELO-TV.

American flag stored on boilerThe co-worker would crumple up the U.S. and South Dakota flags and put them on a boiler after taking them down from an outside pole, the Rapid City Journal reported.

“First time, she did it I told her, ‘That’s disrespectful.  You can’t do it that way,’ and I showed her how to fold the flag, but she continued doing it,” Zakahi said.

Flag etiquette, as defined by the U.S. Flag Code, states that when the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object and that it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously before storage.

Stanley County school board president Sarah Carter issued a statement Wednesday that said in part:

“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.”

“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.”

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