DENVER - A geography teacher suspended with pay for displaying foreign flags in his middle school classroom will be allowed to return to work Friday with permission to put the flags back up - but only when they are relevant to instruction.Eric Hamlin was suspended Wednesday from his job at Carmody Middle School in suburban LakewoodAt the time, he had put up the United Nations, Mexican and Chinese flags in class.He was suspended specifically for refusing to remove the flags, though he later did. Colorado law specifies that foreign flags may be flown while they are being studied."The principal overreacted. (The teacher) was following the law," said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.The Jefferson County School District said Thursday the flags can be displayed only in accordance with state law."Our district believes in win-win situations. This will address the district's concerns regarding compliance with the law and get Mr. Hamlin back into the classroom," Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson said.Hamlin said he told the district he would not go back if he could not display the flags in the Lakewood school. He said he has been flying flags in the same manner for three years with no complaints, even putting up the Iraq and Palestinian Territories flags at times.Hamlin said he believed school officials thought the flags, especially the Mexican one, "would send these 7th graders into a spin and they would start protesting."
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