An eleven year old boy was arrested his school in Florida for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because compulsory patriotism is exactly the type of thing you’d expect to find in “The Land of the Free.”
The child refused to say the pledge because, as he explained to the teacher, he believes the flag is racist, and that the national anthem is “offensive to black people”.
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According to The Washington Post, the child is facing misdemeanor charges for “disruption of a school facility and resisting an officer without violence.”
The 11-year-old refused to recite the pledge, telling his teacher that he believes the flag is racist and America’s national anthem is offensive to black people, according to a Bay News 9 report that cited a statement that the teacher gave to district officials. The teacher, who was substituting at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla., then had what appeared to be a contentious exchange with the sixth-grader.
If living in the United States “was so bad,” why not go to another place to live? the teacher asked the student, according to the statement cited by Bay News 9.
“They brought me here,” the boy replied.
The teacher responded by saying, “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.”
The incident occurred at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida. The teacher involved was not the child’s regular classroom teacher though – it was a substitute teacher. And to be fair to the school, they recognize that there is absolutely nothing illegal about not reciting the pledge.
District spokesman Kyle Kennedy, who did not respond to requests for comment Sunday, told the Ledger that the Florida student was arrested for being “disruptive and refusing to follow repeated instructions” from an officer and school officials.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary, Kennedy said. In fact, 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. (WaPo)
I have a degree in education and taught in public schools for a few years. A while ago, I was also a substitute teacher for a little bit. So I think I have an idea how this whole thing went down.
I imagine what happened was the substitute (incorrectly) thought the sixth grader was trying to challenge her authority at the beginning of class and wanted to squash it before losing control of the classroom. The kid didn’t back down, and the sub didn’t know how to handle it. Instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, she let it get out of control and called the cops on a kid because he didn’t say the magic worlds that every red-blooded True American Patriot™ recites every morning before they eat their bacon and eggs, strap on their gun, and (I assume) jack themselves off while looking at this, or a very similar, picture:
And every time you *don’t* do the special ritual, you make America cry.
The kid wasn’t arrested for not saying the pledge, he was arrested because the teacher probably doesn’t belong in a classroom in the first place. He was respectfully declining to participate in a pointless ritual that many kids his age don’t even understand in the first place, and the teacher took it upon herself to try to make an example out of him for the rest of the class (and it backfired spectacularly).
Look, Patriots™. This is your thing. Freedom. You say you love it, but do you really?
I mean, y’all say you love the Constitution and law and order and all that stuff. The Constitution consists of more than just the Second Amendment. In fact, there’s an amendment before the Second Amendment that is called the “First Amendment”.
While this may be a brand new concept to many of you, people don’t have to do the magic ritual where they place their phalanges over their left pectoral muscle and recite magic words while looking at a piece of cloth. The same goes for saying “Merry Christmas” or whatever the hell snowflake bullshit you’re getting all uppity about this week.
But if we can all step back and take a look at the ritual of pledge recitation, I think most of you will agree with me that the whole thing is weird. We’re making kids say words that many of them don’t understand yet, and then chastising them when they “disrespect” a tri-colored piece of cloth. Something about that seems more consistent with a totalitarian regime, rather than a “free country.”