A sixth-grader in Michigan says he was “violently” pulled from his chair by his homeroom teacher when he chose to sit down during the pledge of allegiance.
It was Stone Chaney’s first week at East Middle School in Farmington Hills when the Sept. 7 incident occurred, but now his family says he might not be coming back because his rights were violated.
“The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently,” Stone told Click on Detroit. “I was so confused. I didn’t know what was going on.”
He told the teacher, “I don’t stand because I don’t pledge to a flag. I pledge to God and family.”
The next day, he said, he was scolded by another teacher for the same thing. Shortly after the incident, his father brought it up at a board meeting, saying it was his son’s choice not to stand for the pledge.
Sitting out the pledge of allegiance or national anthem is not a new form of protest—people of color, Black people, in particular, have long done so to draw attention to the fact that this country does not promote “liberty and justice for all.” But it has garnered national attention since former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick took a knee during all pregame national anthems last year. The quarterback’s silent protest against racism and police brutality has been derided publicly and consistently—he is also now unemployed likely because of it—further igniting the debate over citizens’ freedom to not salute the flag.
Farmington Public Schools says it stands with Stone making his own choices and the teacher in question has been put on leave. “The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge,” the superintendent said. “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.”
In the meantime, Stone hasn’t gone back to the school and his family said they are thinking of taking him out of the district.