A Maryland teacher who called the police on a student who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance must now apologize to the student.
According to both the ACLU and the Montgomery County school system, last month the 13-year-old student, whose name is not being released, did not stand up and say the Pledge. Her teacher yelled at her, and demanded she stand. When she refused, the teacher sent her to the principal's office.
The same thing happened the next day. But instead of sending her to the principal's office again, the teacher, whose name is also not being released, called two police officers and had her escorted out of class.
A school spokesman said that the teacher's actions were a clear violation of the school's regulations, which are based on a state law that says students cannot be forced to salute the flag. The Montgomery school system's student handbook contains a section about "Patriotic Exercises" that reads:
"You cannot be required to say a pledge, sing an anthem, or take part in patriotic exercises. No one will be permitted to intentionally embarrass you if you choose not to participate."
"The policy is very, very clearly stated," spokesman Dana Tofig said. "Our teachers are expected to know the students' rights and responsibilities... A mistake has been made, and it will be rectified." The teacher will have to apologize to the student, Tofig said.
According to Ajmel Quereshi, a lawyer with the ACLU of Maryland who is representing the family, no one from the school had contacted the girl or her family to resolve the issue. The teen's mother tried to schedule a meeting with school officials but was told they would not meet with her if she wanted to bring a lawyer, Quereshi claims.
Quereshi also says the girl was mocked by other children in her class and has been too traumatized to return to school.