According to Bay News 9, at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, an 11-year old student, along with his classmates, was asked to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The boy refused and told his substitute teacher that the American flag was racist against black people.
The said teacher recapped everything in a handwritten statement to the district. She allegedly told the boy, “Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live,” and to which the boy reportedly replied, “They brought me here.”
The teacher then stated, “Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.” She also added, “Then I had to call the office because I did not want to continue dealing with him.”
Yahoo Lifestyle further states that the Lakeland Police Department told them that they could not release public records because it was a juvenile misdemeanor arrest.
Bay News 9 reported that the boy was apprehended by a school resource officer. He allegedly wouldn’t follow directions, threatened the teacher and principal with violence, and stated that the principal should be fired.
Dhakira Talbot, the mother of the boy, told the news station, “I’m upset, I’m angry. I’m hurt. More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should’ve been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should’ve been taken, it should’ve been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested.”
She further says, “I want the charges dropped and I want the school to be held accountable for what happened because it shouldn’t have been handled the way it was handled.”
Furthermore, according to a Polk County Public Schools, public relations specialist students are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It is stated in the district handbook they can opt-out “upon written authorization from parent.”
Sources: Fox 4