An 11-year-old Florida boy was arrested after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in school, Bay News 9 reports.
On February 4, the sixth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland refused to stand for the Pledge because he said it was “racist.”
A substitute teacher told the boy to stand but he refused. The teacher told the school in a statement that she asked "why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”
The boy replied, “they brought me here,” the teacher said.
"Then I had to call the office because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the teacher said in her statement.
After the incident, the student was arrested by a school resource officer “because he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist and was disruptive,” Bay News 9 reported.
Police said the student threatened to get the resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher. The student denied physically threatening the teacher.
The boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended for three days.
A spokesperson for the school told Bay News 9 that students are not required to stand for the Pledge but the substitute teacher was not aware of this. The spokesperson said the substitute teacher will no longer work in the district.
Mom demands police drop charges:
Dhakira Talbot, the boy’s mom, told Bay News 9 that her son is in a gifted class and has been bullied in the past.
"I'm upset, I'm angry. I'm hurt," she told the outlet. "More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should've been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should've been taken, it should've been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested."
Talbot said the teacher was out of line.
"She was wrong. She was way out of place," Talbot said. "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.”
"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," she added.