Skyla Madria, 10, refuses to stand up when the pledge of allegiance is recited at her school. She says it is because she is offended by the portion of the Star Spangled Banner that references slaves, and as such, will not stand for the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance.
Referring to a section about slavery no longer sung often anymore, Skyla said, “When I heard the third verse of the national anthem, I decided that's not right and he shouldn't have wrote that,” KHOU reports.
Inspired by NFL quarterback Colin Kaerpernick's controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem as protest against social injustice, Skyla also decided to take action.
The child peacefully protested multiple times, refusing to kneel while the anthem played or stand during the pledge of allegiance at her Texas school.
Yet while some have praised Kaerpernick, Skyla was met with criticism by school officials.
“He told me you should respect my flag, and respect my nation, and you should stand up for this pledge,” said Skyla, referring to her coach. “He yelled at me. He sent me to the principal. The principal called my mother and called me disgusting for not standing up.”
Skyla's mother, however, says she stood up for her child.
"I told her, ‘You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re standing for what you believe in.’ I support her 100 percent,” said Elizabeth Owens, Skyla’s mother.
Owens reached out to community activist Quannel X after the school's reaction.
“Why would we ask any African American child or citizen to stand up and honor a flag with an anthem written by a slave owner who promised nothing but turmoil to blacks to the grave?” Quannel X said.
However, Pearland Independent School District says the mother "initially told campus administrators that the child should stand as well.”
After learning of the case, the district's superintendent ruled that children can be excused from the Pledge of Allegiance if their parents offer written consent.
Skyla's mother says she will do so and hopes in the meantime they receive an apology from the school.