CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - There are some things you just don't do and Heartland students say this is one of them.
A picture reportedly depicting teens in Pennsylvania standing on the U.S. flag and flipping off the camera has been going around Facebook, and has a lot of people across the nation shaking their heads.
But local students and teachers call it a disgrace.
Every morning, students at Richland Schools in Essex recite the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. They are words that hold a special place in the heart of every American, paying tribute to everything the flag stands for.
"It's more than just something that hangs in your classroom and you stand up and talk to it. It's what people believe in. It gives country's hope around the world," Sophomore Luke Rhodes said.
Rhodes, a sophomore, plans to, one day, serve in the U.S. military.
"[The photo is] pure ignorance," Rhodes said. "They haven't been taught what it's took to have that right. What those colors stand for on that flag."
His reaction to the photo taken by teens in Pennsylvania is that it's the shear opposite of respect.
"My family, you're taught, you don't do that," he said. "You shake a veteran's hand if you see them."
Paul Arnold teaches American History at Richland in Essex. He also teaches his students why the flag is to be revered.
"They need to not only know the origins of the flag but why we practice certain things that we do," Arnold said.
As for his students, they understand and, despite this recent photo, he says, he sees the future of our country in good hands.
"This generation, and we may not understand them, but they've stepped up when they were asked to and they continue to step up and they will continue to step up," Arnold said.
He said they're stepping up to learn what the flag stands for.
"I think about the army and our lost ones," Joe, an elementary student, said.
"A lot of people think it's just a piece of cloth," Rhodes said. "It's not. It's what they send our boys home in when they die in Afghanistan. To them it's not a piece of cloth."
The Richland superintendent said there was some confusion about where this photo was taken.
They had people contacting the school thinking this photo was taken there at Richland School in Essex, but the photo is not local. It was taken in Richland Township, Pennsylvania and then shared across the country on social media.