Florida sixth-grader arrested after confrontation over pledge

Mother outraged 11-year-old son arrested after refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance

Mother outraged 11-year-old son arrested after refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance

The incident unfolded February 4 inside Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in the Tampa suburb of Lakeland after a substitute teacher grew upset at the student when she asked him to stand for the pledge.

An 11-year-old in Florida refused to recite the pledge of allegiance and ended up getting arrested over it, a report said. He was also suspended for three days.

Teachers should know that students can't be required to pledge allegiance in public schools, nor can they be punished for not participating in a pledge, because such requirements violate the basic tenets of free speech and due process.

The student, who usually does not stand for the pledge, replied that he would not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance because he believed the American flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive towards black people.

According to a statement released by the school district, the "substitute teacher was asked to leave campus immediately" and "will no longer be allowed to work at any of our schools".

Alvarez 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". "They said he threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher".

Talbot blames the substitute for the incident, telling Bay News 9, "She was wrong".

She added that she thought the charges should be dropped and that the school should be held accountable for its handling of the situation.

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"I'm upset", she said. "More so for my son. I feel this should've been handled differently".

Now his mother, Dhakira Talbot, said any disciplinary action should have been taken by the school, not law enforcement. "He shouldn't have been arrested".

(L-R) Kevin Flynn, Brooke Zumwalt and Joseph Miller, fourth grade students at Longstreth Elementary School pledge allegiance to the flag March 24, 2004 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The teacher exchanged words with the student and called the school administration, according to the district. "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 said.

A substitute teacher in charge of the class was unaware the district student code of conduct doesn't mandate students' participation, the district said.

'Our HR department will contact Kelly Services, which provides our substitutes, to further refine how our substitutes are trained, ' Kennedy said.

When the student leave, police say he "created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office". Meanwhile, the teacher was removed from the school district and an investigation is underway.

In a WTSP-TV report, the boy's mother said the 11-year-old normally declines to stand for the pledge.

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