A 17-year-old high school student in South Carolina has been arrested and charged with burning a bunch of flags at the main entrance to a high school.
At about 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the student, Nick Newell, allegedly burned the bevy of American flags in front of St. James High School, a public school not too far from Myrtle Beach, reports area ABC affiliate WPDE.
A still surveillance shot released by the Horry County police shows someone dressed basically in dark black and gray storm trooper chic complete with what appears to be a gas mask. Several unburned flags are strewn on the ground.
There was minor damage to the area where the flags had been, notes CBS affiliate WBTW.
Security guards discovered the charred flag remains just after 6:00 a.m.
As a result, school officials decided to lock down and evacuate the school at around 8:30 a.m. An arson investigator showed up. So did the county bomb squad.
Students never went to class; they were told to proceed directly to the gym. A couple hours later, students were shuttled to an area middle school and, after a protracted checkout process, eventually discharged to their parents.
Newell, a student at the Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology, was arrested at his home in the afternoon. He faces a charge of third-degree arson.
Newell’s motive for the flag-scorching remains unknown.
Jennifer Monemee, a local mom (and a neighbor of Newell’s) told WPDE that someone had filched an American flag from her home not long before the incident.
Newell sat in jail Monday night and faces a bond hearing on Tuesday morning.
Last January, South Carolina saw a school-related flag desecration dust-up when honors English teacher Scott Compton threw an American flag on the floor and stomped on it in front of his students— in three classes over the course of a single day. (RELATED: South Carolina teacher on leave for stomping on American flag)
Compton was later relieved of his job, but not before he received a whopping $85,000 settlement payout in addition to the regular salary and benefits he had received after he was placed on long-term administrative leave. (RELATED: Flag-stomping South Carolina English teacher gets $85,000 settlement)
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