Fired custodian hires a lawyer to start a conversation with scho - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Fired custodian hires a lawyer to start a conversation with school district

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Tuesday night we told you about a Fort Pierre man, a vet who was fired from his job as a school custodian.

He says he was let go after raising concerns about how the school's flag was being treated and posted photos of it on Facebook.

Wednesday, Cesar Zahaki hired a lawyer.

And his lawyer said Zahaki might not even want his job back.

KSFY News spoke with Zahaki's lawyer to find out what he does want.

His lawyer says this is about doing the right thing.

He hasn't filed a lawsuit yet.

They're trying to determine whether to take legal action but ultimately, he says his client Mr. Zahaki, would like to resolve this informally.

Cesar Zahaki's lawyer, Joel Arends said he wants to help defend and protect a vet's rights.

"He's a veteran of the Air Force. He's a veteran of the national park service. He was a smoke jumper for them. This is a guy who's earned his due respect. We just want to make sure that the school district does the right thing here," Arends said.

Arends points out, unlike the Stanley county school district, South Dakota law protects the flag,  it's punishable by one year in jail or a two-thousand dollar fine to defile the American flag.

"So all this guy wanted to do is make sure the school district is following the law. The flag was being respected and everyone was paying the respect they should to it," Arends said.

Arends believes his client was let go for being a whistle blower.

"He did the right thing. He told his immediate supervisor. He told the superintendent for the last couple of months. He worked with his fellow colleagues to have her fold it the right way as well. nobody wanted to do the right thing here. Instead, he gets fired for it," Arends said.

Besides making sure the district treats the flag properly, Zahaki just wants to have a conversation with the school district.

"They have not reached out to him yet. They've doubled down on what at this point is plain ignorance. So we'll have to find out if they want to give him the kind of respect that I think he's probably earned," Arends said.

Stanley County school board president Sarah Carter released a statement today that the district stands by it's decisions.

It says the board denies any allegation Zahaki was let go because he reported the mishandling of the flag.

Carter goes on to state the flag represent the values they instill in our youth.

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