A teacher at East Middle School in Farmington Hills, Michigan has been accused of trying to force a black sixth grader to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance on Sept. 7.
The teacher was placed on paid leave while the school investigates the incident, which would be a violation of the student’s Constitutional rights per the 1943 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.
The student, Stone Chaney, told WDIV:
The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently. I was so confused. I didn’t know what was going on. I don’t stand because I don’t pledge to a flag. I pledge to God and family. I don’t feel safe going to that school anymore because I don’t know what they’re going to do next,
Stone said another teacher yelled at him for sitting down during the pledge.
The boy’s dad, Brian Chaney, added: “It’s his choice to sit. I don’t make him sit. And they should respect that.”
Marine veteran Stephen Stevens, who is white and has no connection to the school or the student, insisted that the student didn’t actually know what he was doing:
I would love to be able to talk to them and get their side and explain my side so maybe we could come to an understanding. Because I get they have that right, but I don’t believe they understand what that right really entails.
Brian countered: “If they’re fighting for freedom, they’re fighting for us to have choices. Then it’s our choice.”
The superintendent of Farmington Public Schools released a statement:
The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge. The teacher allegedly involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave. At this time, the District cannot speculate about the outcome of the pending investigation.