LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida mother is upset after her 11-year-old son was kicked out of school, suspended and arrested after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The boy said the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people when a substitute teacher asked him to stand for the pledge Feb. 4, Bay News 9 reported.
"Why, if it was so bad here, he did not go to another place to live," the teacher wrote in a discipline report, Bay News 9 reported. He replied, "They brought me here."
The substitute continued, "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."
She wrote that she then called the office because she did not want to deal with the student any longer.
The sixth-grader, who is in the gifted program at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, was arrested and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence, Bay News 9 reported. The child, who was not identified, was taken to a juvenile detention center. He was also suspended from school for three days.
"I'm upset. I'm angry. I'm hurt," the boy's mother, Dhakira Talbot, told Bay News 9. "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."
Students do not have to participate in the pledge but the substitute teacher did not know this, a district spokeswoman told Bay News 9.
The substitute is no longer allowed to teach in the district. The district is looking into the incident.
"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," Talbot told Bay News 9.