An 11-year-old was arrested and charged after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at school. The young man, who is a student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Polk County, FL, said he feels the pledge is racist and the American flag is offensive to black people. After he reportedly became disruptive, he was arrested and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence, Bay 9 News reports. He was also suspended for three days.
The sixth grader also had an exchange with his substitute teacher during the incident that added fuel to the fire. After he told her he felt the flag represented racism, she replied “Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live,” and he responded with “they brought me here,” according to the statement she wrote. The teacher then told him “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.” His behavior became disruptive during his arrest where he called school authorities racist, threatened to beat up his teacher and get the principal fired.
His mother, Dhakira Talbot, is outraged and hopes that the school takes disciplinary action against the substitute teacher.
“She was wrong,” Talbot told Bay News 9. “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.” She continued, “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.”
A spokesperson for the school confirmed that students are not required to stand for the pledge of allegiance but the substitute teacher was not aware.
Talbot has a court date on Feb. 19th where she will be fighting these charges against her son.