Teen Sits For Pledge, Teacher Forces Him Out Of Chair

| by Brendan Kelly
Kelley Porter and Shemar CooperKelley Porter and Shemar Cooper

A Chicago-area mother is outraged after her son's school denied his choice to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Shemar Cooper, 15, says he decided to sit down for the Pledge of Allegiance during his Spanish class on Aug. 26 at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois. When his teacher told him he had to stand up, he refused, telling her he didn't want to because "America sucks."

Shemar's mother, Kelley Porter, apologized to the teacher for her son's language, but said she would not apologize for his choice to sit down for the pledge.

The teen's family thought the issue was resolved until he went back to his Spanish class after the weekend. When he chose to sit once again for the pledge, he says the teacher attempted to physically pull him out of his seat.

Porter reported the incident to Blue Island police and threatened to press charges against the teacher.

The mother says she is proud of her son for making a statement against oppression and police violence. She said her family has served their country proudly, pointing out that her father served in World War II.

"America doesn't respect blacks," Shemar told WGN. "Until they stop killing us, I'm not going to stand up."

Porter added, "We don't hate America. It's the behaviors that are put out from some of the people towards black people that we disapprove of."

The mother and son say they were unaware of the controversy in the NFL involving San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem at a game for similar reasons, at the time of the incident.

The principal of Eisenhower High School released a statement in response to the incident, saying "Eisenhower High School takes any allegations of violations of students rights seriously. We respect students’ First Amendment right to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."

Porter says she thinks the teacher should be suspended for her actions. According to the principal, school officials are looking into the incident, reports WBBM.

Sources: WGN, WBBM / Photo credit: WGN

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