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Teacher Accused of Forcing Boy To Stand During Pledge

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A teacher in Farmington Hills, Michigan, is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a student for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Sixth-grader Stone Chaney had just started his first week at a new school when the alleged incident occurred on Sept. 7, according to WDIV. On that day, Stone had refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. 

"I don't stand because I don't pledge to a flag," he said. "I pledge to God and family."

Stone said his teacher then tried to force him to stand. 

"The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently," Stone commented. "I was so confused. I didn't know what was going on."

Stone also said the day following the incident, another teacher yelled at him for refusing to stand. 

The teacher who allegedly forced Stone out of his chair has been placed on leave and is under investigation. However, Stone had not returned to school as of Sept. 15 and his family is reportedly considering other options and is probably going to leave the district. 

"I don't feel safe going to that school anymore because I don't know what they're going to do next," Stone said.

Stone's father, Brian Chaney, addressed the school district at a board meeting, during which he expressed support for his son's decision. 

"It's his choice to sit," Chaney said. "I don't make him sit. And they should respect that."

The superintendent of Stone's school district released a statement in response to the incident. 

"The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge," the statement reads. "The teacher allegedly involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave. At this time, the District cannot speculate about the outcome of the pending investigation."

Stone's decision to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance comes about a year after NFL players and other athletes began protests of the national anthem during games.

NFL player Colin Kaepernick started the wave of silent protests in 2016 during the NFL preseason to protest racial injustice and police brutality, according to MLive. Stone did not tell WDIV that his refusal to stand was meant to address similar issues.

In September 2016, three college players from Michigan State University (located in the same state as Stone's school), Delton Williams, Gabe Sherrod and Kenney Lyke, chose to raise their right fists in the air during the anthem as a form of protest. 

Unlike Stone's teacher, the coach of the three players, Mark Dantonio, supported their decision to not participate in the anthem in a traditional manner. 

"That's your choice, and it's influenced by what you've experienced in this world," Dantonio said. "So whether someone salutes, puts their hand over their heart or does something else, everybody has a choice to make."

Sources: WDIV, MLive / Featured Image: Karsun Designs/Flickr / Embedded Images: Lance Cheung/U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr (2)

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