‘Standing’ for the Pledge?

Jordan Doss, Alum

An 11-year-old student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fl. was arrested  Feb. 4 for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The student told his teacher that he believes the flag represents racism towards black people. The teacher then suggested that the student move somewhere else if America is so bad, and called the front office so that she did not have to “keep dealing with the student,” according to her statement.

Shortly after, the student got angry and called the Dean and staff members racist, so the police were called and arrested the student on accounts of disturbance.

“I feel like [having him arrested] was too excessive and unnecessary. His first amendment rights were violated,” one CHS senior said.

The Lakeland police department made a statement in the news claiming the arrest was made due to the classroom disruption, and not his refusal to recite the pledge, however, this is not the first time this has happened in our country.

In 2017, a student in Houston, Texas was put in a similar situation, except that after she being expelled for not standing, the school took back their expulsion and invited the student back because of public outcry.  

“I would tell the teacher in a nice, well-mannered way that standing for the pledge is not something mandatory; therefore, I will not stand for it if I do not want to,” CHS senior Lina Escobar said.

Due to the liberal nature in Md., it is less likely that events such as these would occur at Clarksburg or other public schools in the area.

“The Clarksburg staff is very understanding to all student’s point of views, and if a student decided to not take part in the pledge, the teacher of that classroom would be respectful and would not allow it to be an issue,” senior Pauline Deutcheu said.

Even if opposing opinions over the situation come about, students maintain their rights to fight for what they believe in.

“I do not like when students do not stand for the flag; I do not know if they are just lazy or if they are making a statement, but I will respect their choice either way,” history teacher Carol Sabet said.

Standing for the pledge is a choice that each individual student has the authority to make for themselves as it is a form of expression and is protected by their 1st Amendment rights. Pressuring students to represent or stand for a message that they do not agree with will not be tolerated by students.