Florida sixth-grader charged after confrontation with teacher over Pledge of Allegiance

A Florida middle school student was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor following an altercation that stemmed from him not standing up and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The 11-year-old reportedly refused to recite the pledge and told the teacher that “the flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to black people,” according to local outlet Bay 9 News.

{mosads}The teacher involved in the incident was a substitute at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla., a suburb outside Tampa.

The teacher then questioned why the student didn’t go live somewhere else if living in America “was so bad.”

The boy responded by saying “they brought me here,” according to The Washington Post.

“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,” the teacher then reportedly said before calling the district office in an attempt to stop dealing with the sixth-grader.

The student was later charged with disruption of a school facility and resisting an officer without violence, Gary Cross, spokesman for the Lakeland Police Department, told the Post.

Polk County School District spokesperson Kyle Kennedy told the Ledger the student was arrested for being “disruptive and refusing to follow repeated instructions” from both a police officer and school officials.

Kennedy noted that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary.

The Hill has reached out to the school district for comment.

The substitute teacher allegedly was unaware that students were not required to recite the pledge.

“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,” the student’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, said. “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.”


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