Wants federal charges brought against child
A school principal in New Mexico is attempting to contact the government and have federal charges brought against a 14-year-old student who threw a small American flag on a stick out of a window.
Robert Archuleta wants the boy expelled, and presumably arrested, following the incident during which four students were misbehaving, also throwing other items such as workbooks out of the classroom window into snow.
The principal initially called the school police officer with Rio Arriba County, but because he told them he wished to report a federal offense, the cops referred him to the FBI.
“A lot of men have died over [the flag], men and women,” Archuleta told reporters with KRQE. A veteran from a military family, Archuleta added, “We fought to keep our country safe and to keep it free.”
Critics have noted that Archuleta doesn’t seem to understand that he and others actually fought for the right to throw the flag out of a window, not for the flag itself.
Desecration of the flag has not been a punishable offense for close to a half century. Any action taken involving an American flag, no matter whether Archuleta agrees with it or not, is protected under the First Amendment.
Several Supreme Court rulings have reaffirmed that “contempt” of the flag, such as burning it, is a form of free speech, and is thus protected.
However, Archuleta, who clearly wants to make an example out of the student, claims that there is a federal law that somehow trumps the Constitution.
“I want to report it to them because it is a federal law, so it’s in their hands,” Archuleta said, adding “I am a firm believer in citizenship and U.S. history and our history, and these are going to be our future leaders. I want them to understand they have to take responsibility.”
The student has been suspended for ten days, but Archuleta says he will lobby for expulsion at a district hearing.
The FBI told KRQE News 13 that no official complaint has yet been logged, but if a federal crime was committed they will investigate and report back to the U.S. Attorney’s office.