A student at a Maryland high school reportedly had his chair kicked out from under him after he did not stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance (video below).
Footage posted to Instagram shows the moment that a student at Winters Mill High School in Westminster who was sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance in protest had his chair kicked from beneath him by another student, according to Daily Mail. The student who kicked out the chair was disciplined for the incident, said the Carroll County School District.
The school plays the Pledge of Allegiance during the morning announcements each school day, but students are not required to stand for the pledge.
The student who took the chair out posted the footage to social media, captioning it with a profanity-laden message.
"Some people don't understand how disrespectful it is to sit during the pledge or national anthem and deserves to get their a*s kicked," wrote the teen. "More of y'all need to [stand up] to these jacka*ses that sit during the pledge. If you have an issue with what I did today talk to me about it not your little buddies behind my back."
Director of Student Services Dana Falls said that the student who kicked the chair had been disciplined, though he did not specify how the student had been punished for the incident, according to the Carroll County Times.
"His behavior is unacceptable," said the director.
Falls said that, in general, the punishment for a behavioral problem would depend on the nature of the incident and the student's history of behavior at the school.
Falls added that the first step would be to issue a punishment that would change the behavior, but if that did not work, further steps could be taken: "The end game would be suspension if we can't make that behavior change."
The school district has rules to stop bullying among students, but Falls said that because the incident was isolated, it may not constitute bullying.
"In my opinion, based on what I know about the initial incident ... that would be considered an unsafe behavior or disrespect to the student," said Falls. "If it continued, it would absolutely be considered bullying."
Falls also clarified that the school would likely not involve police in the issue.
"In this particular case, I highly doubt that the administrator would involve law enforcement," said Falls.
The director added that the student who was sitting during the pledge was within his rights to protest.
"The school cannot punish the student for not standing for the pledge," Falls said.
The student had not immediately indicated to school officials that he had been sitting as an act of protest, but later clarified on social media that he was protesting against "forced patriotism."
"I was practicing my right to free speech, a right given to me by the soldiers that I do respect, unlike what [the other student] says," wrote the student who was targeted. "I simply will not stand and pledge allegiance to a country that is run by a racist, sexist, bigoted, fascist."
"I will not stand for a country who mistreats those who aren't white and rich," wrote the student, who encouraged others to join him in sitting during the pledge. "Forced patriotism is fascism, and nothing less."
The topic of sitting or kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem has been widely discussed since President Donald Trump condemned NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest against abuses against people of color.
In schools, students have the right to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance after a 1943 Supreme Court case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, held that students' right to protest the pledge was covered by the First Amendment, according to Dinsmore.