A 13-year-old Virginia student was suspended from school during finals for allegedly wiping his hands on the American flag after using the bathroom, say reports.
Moses Hinton, a student at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach, denies wiping his hands on the stars and stripes, saying "I was coming up the stairs and I lost my balance and I touched the flag," reports WAVY-TV.
Hinton's family believes their son was suspended because he is the only African-American seventh grader in the school's gifted program - despite the school having an African-American principal - and has retained attorney Wayne Scriven to explore possible legal action, reports WTKR-TV.
"You have a bright, gifted, young black male; it seems to be an attempt to pour ice water on his motivation," Scriven told WTKR-TV.
"A teacher observed a student who recently returned from the restroom using the American flag as a hand towel," school spokesperson Eileen Cox told WAVY-TV. She added "the student indicated to the teacher that there were no paper towels in the restroom."
Hinton says he was coming from the bathroom, but that he wiped his hands on his pants because it was out of paper towels.
"It has had an emotional impact on my son's education," Hinton's mother, Victoria, said.
The school said it suspended Hinton for defacing school property in accordance with its code of conduct.
However, no visible damage to the flag was found.
Moses Hinton has had other issues with school staff in the past two years that she viewed as unfair. The family does not want to sue for discrimination, but she wants her son's record cleared.