(TU) – A Florida student is facing misdemeanor charges after a confrontation with a teacher that began with his refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and escalated into what officials described as disruptive behavior.
The student, a sixth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, east of Tampa, refused to stand for the pledge, telling the teacher that he thinks the flag and the national anthem are “racist” against black people, according to an affidavit.
The teacher then had what appeared to be a contentious exchange with him.
If living in the United States is “so bad,” why not go to another place to live? Ana Alvarez, who was substituting at the school, asked the student, according to a handwritten statement from her.
“Suspend me! I don’t care. This school is racist,” the student, who is black, told the dean as he walked out of the room with his backpack, according to the affidavit.
The student was later charged with disruption of a school facility and resisting an officer without violence.
The Lakeland Police Department said in a news release that the student was not arrested for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
“This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom,” the release said.
…the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that schools cannot require students to salute the flag or recite the pledge, citing First Amendment rights.
Welcome to 2019. We now have 6th graders suddenly deciding that the Pledge of Allegiance is racist. Let’s take a look at the pledge, originally written in the 1890s and check for racism:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Nothing that I see. Actually, it literally says “liberty and justice FOR ALL.” Despite all the strides we have made as a nation, unfortunately, racism does still exist in our society. But the Pledge of Allegiance is not an example of that.
I’ll give this kid some credit, he made a stance for what he believed. It happened to be short-sighted and downright wrong, but hey, let’s give him an A for effort.
The school definitely handled very poorly, but talk about a tough day for this substitute teacher. She was probably ready to just hand out some quick worksheets and collect her paycheck but couldn’t even get to the opening bell without a racial dispute. Little did she know, thanks to our First Amendment rights as American citizens, no one is forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a proud American. To some people, that means trying to force everyone to show the same respect you do for our flag and country. Rather than let this kid or Colin Kaepernick or anyone make me angry for behaviors perceived as “disrespectful”, I turn to our American rights. Among many other freedoms, we have the freedom of speech and expression. To me, that means standing (or sitting, or kneeling) for what you believe in is the most American thing you can do.
In conclusion. No, the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t racist, but it’s far from “un-American” to refuse to stand and recite it.