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Mom Angry Over Teacher's Pledge Of Allegiance Remarks

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A North Carolina mother who is also a U.S. soldier spoke out against a teacher who told her young daughter people should "get out of our country" if they won't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Cumberland County School District music teacher reportedly told her elementary school students that anyone who didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance could "get out of our country," according to WTVD. When Jasmine Williams' 8-year-old daughter, Elaysha, told her about what the teacher said, the mom was outraged.

"I am a soldier, but I'm speaking today as a concerned parent," said Jasmine.

According to Jasmine, third-grader Elaysha came home from school and told her mom about her day, and revealed what had happened when one student didn't stand up during the pledge.

"One boy didn't stand up and she said, she said... if you don't stand up you can get out of our country," recounted Elaysha.

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Jasmine told her daughter that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to stand, and that as a soldier she fought for people's right to choose to stand or not.

"She wasn't telling me like she was telling on her or tattle-telling," recalled the mom. "She didn't even know it was wrong. You don't have to stand or sit. Everybody has the right to choose."

Jasmine has been deployed multiple times, and has been active duty for over a decade.

"I feel like that's why we fight," said Jasmine. "That's why we're in the war, because of people's freedom of speech."

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Jasmine added that her daughter didn't understand the significance of the music teacher's statement.

"She was a grown-up and I thought she knew what she was talking about," said the young girl.

Jasmine said the teacher was "very apologetic."

"She said it was a blanket statement," the mom said. "You should not show your political views to these children."

In October, a Houston student was kicked out of her high school after she refused to stand for the pledge, according to New York Daily News. That student, 17-year-old India Landry, and her family filed a lawsuit against the school after the incident.

India had previously sat for the pledge many times without a problem, but after the school's administrators had been "whipped into a frenzy" over the recent NFL protests of the national anthem, Windfern High School Principal Martha Strother reportedly told India that she had to leave after she refused to stand. According to the lawsuit, India was also told, "if your mom does not get here in five minutes the police are coming."

"I was actually terrified," said India's mother, Kizzy Landry, "I see what's going on with the country."

"That scared the hell out of me," Kizzy recalled. "I thought let me hurry up and get to my baby before something happens to her."

India said that she had refused to stand because of police brutality and President Donald Trump's policies.

"Students cannot be instantly expelled except for being a danger," said lawyer Randall Kallinen. "The only danger appeared to be that her sitting whipped Principal Strother into a political frenzy."

School district spokeswoman Nicole Ray said the school was handling the situation internally, adding that "a student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge."

"I never told her to do this," said Kizzy. "I'm proud of her standing up to what she believes in. She said she hopes it just brings awareness of what is going on."

Students have the right to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem, after a 1943 Supreme Court case, West Virginia State board of Education v. Barnette, ruled that a student cannot be required to recite or stand for the pledge, according to Education Week.

"Courts have affirmed and reaffirmed that students do not check their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate, and speech cannot be curtailed unless it creates a material disruption to the educational process," said JoAnn Bartoletti, the executive director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "Yet in this debate, something greater is at stake than individual student rights. Prohibiting student protest challenges the very purpose of school as a place of learning."

Sources: WTVD, New York Daily News, Education Week / Featured Image: DHendrix73/Flickr / Embedded Images: Just Some Dust/FlickrChristopher Sessums/Flickr

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