Mason Michalec, a student at Needville High School in Texas, recently refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, which he says resulted in a two-day in-school suspension.
Michalec refused to stand for the pledge because of some U.S. government policies, including the NSA spying on U.S. citizens (video below).
“I’m really tired of our government taking advantage of us,” Michalec told KHOU. “I don’t agree with the NSA spying on us.”
However, some residents of the small town disagree with the teen.
“I think he’s being disrespectful to the flag, and those folks who gave their lives for him to have his opinion,” stated resident David McDonald.
Resident Jimmie Pekar said, “If you live in the United States, the greatest country in the world, you should support the United States.”
However, neighbor Dean Reese stated, "The kid’s well-spoken and he’s well-informed. It’s not like he’s ignorant, he’s not doing it to make people mad. He’s doing it because of his personal beliefs.”
“I’m a veteran, I’m not real big on flag-burning or anything like that, but this country is a free country and we’re free to do what we want,” added Reese.
The real issue isn't whether or not the teen's refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance makes people happy or sad, but rather the school's clear violation of an U.S. Supreme Court case from 1943, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.
RawStory.com notes the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students could not be forced to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance.
“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,” the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in its decision.