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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school board has upheld the 10-day suspension of a high school teacher who stepped on an American flag during a First Amendment lesson.

The Cumberland County Board of Education voted 5-2 Wednesday to support Superintendent Frank Till’s decision. Board members considered Lee Francis’ appeal for more than eight hours behind closed doors.

Whether Lee returns to his job teaching history at Massey Hill Classical High School rests with Till.

Lee has been working in the district office since Till recommended the unpaid suspension in September.

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He says he was teaching about a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that flag desecration is protected speech. Francis says he stepped on the flag several times with his right foot.