A gifted 11-year-old Florida student decided to take a stand, or rather a seat, during the Pledge of Allegiance.
On February 4, the Lawton Chiles Middle Academy sixth-grader refused to stand up for the pledge when his substitute teacher asked him to, Bay News 9 reports.
An 11-year-old was arrested after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance, per a report from The Washington Post. Police say the arrest happened for "disrupting the classroom." https://t.co/BgrJoNOu9T pic.twitter.com/zydsEuY5wb
— WSYX ABC 6 (@wsyx6) February 18, 2019
The student told the substitute teacher the American flag was racist and that the national anthem was offensive to black people.
According to a statement the substitute teacher gave to the district, she then told him:
“Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live?”
The student responded:
“They brought me here.”
The substitute allegedly said back:
“Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.”
After this response, the teacher reportedly called the office because she “did not want to continue dealing with him.”
The arrest affidavit states the student was arrested by the school resource officer because “he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist, and was disruptive.”
Further, it states he allegedly “threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and threatened to beat the teacher.”
The 11-year-old was then sent to a juvenile detention center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended from his school for three days.
A spokeswoman with the school district explained that students aren’t required to partake in the pledge. Further, the spokeswoman said that the substitute teacher did not realize this.
As a result of this incident, the substitute teacher can no longer work at any of the schools within the district.
According to US Flag, in 1943 the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. Further, only 25 of 50 states have laws that encourage participation during the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.
11 year-old black child WAS ARRESTED at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, FL because he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The substitute teacher told him that he could always go back where he came from. pic.twitter.com/uYQv0p42qZ
— 24/7 Hip Hop News (@BenjaminEnfield) February 19, 2019
Dhakira Talbot, the student’s mom, felt the teacher handled the situation completely wrong:
“She was wrong. She was way out of place. If she felt like there was an issue with my son not standing for the flag, she should’ve resolved that in a way different manner than she did.”
Talbot also said her son is in gifted classes and has been bullied at the school in the past. However, he’s never faced anything like this before.
“I want the charges dropped and I want the school to be held accountable for what happened because it shouldn’t have been handled the way it was handled.”
According to Bay News 9, Talbot is working with the Poor and Minority Justice Association (PMJA) to help resolve the situation.
PMJA is a civil rights origination that campaigns against police brutality, false charges, and false arrest in poor and minority communities.
Talbot’s son maintains that he never threatened the substitute teacher during the altercation.