Officials at a California school district have apologized to a student after they berated him for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ivan Covarrubias, a seventh-grader in San Jacinto, originally said that his teacher “told him off” early this month when he refused to stand during the pledge of allegiance due to his being an atheist. Before the next school day began, the teacher reportedly tried to have a conversation with Covarrubias about his beliefs outside of the classroom.
Once the young boy told his mother about the incident, she decided to reach out to the American Humanist Association, who in turn sent a letter to school officials on behalf of Covarrubias.
Now, school officials have reportedly apologized to Covarrubias and teachers will now have undergo training on the district’s police, which stops a teacher from trying to force a student into saying the pledge. Additionally, the teacher in question will have to remove a banner form his classroom that reads, “Prayer changes things.”
“We’re pleased that the school district has recognized the rights of students to remain seated during the Pledge, as well as the need to keep references to prayer and other religious practices out of the classroom,” said legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center Daniel Niose.
Ivan Covarrubias’ mother Sandra says she was excited to receive the apology letter from school officials.
“I see it as a victory," said Sandra. "When I read the letter, I was very happy. At least they said they [will make changes]. That's a good thing."
Sandra also maintained that their family doesn’t have a problem with the pledge as a whole, only the phrase “under God.”
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