LAKELAND, Fla. (WHDH) — A Florida mother is demanding that a judge drop the criminal charges levied against her 11-year-old son after he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and became disruptive in school.
A sixth grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center on Feb. 4 after he refused to say the pledge.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence.
When a substitute teacher asked the boy to stand for the pledge, he reportedly told her the flag was racist and the anthem was offensive to black people.
In a statement to the school district, the substitute teacher reported telling the student if it was so bad in the United States, why didn’t he go to another place to live.
The boy allegedly replied by saying, “They brought me here.”
The substitute teacher went on to say, “Well you can always go back,” adding that she is from Cuba and the day she feels unwelcome she would find somewhere else to live.
She then called the office because she “didn’t want to continue dealing with him.”
The student was subsequently arrested because he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist and was disruptive, according to an arrest affidavit.
He also allegedly threatened to get the school resource officer and principal fired and to beat the teacher.
The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, says the substitute teacher was “wrong” and “way out of place.”
“I want the charges dropped and I want the school to be held accountable and the officer for what happened because it shouldn’t have been handled the way it was handled,” she said.
A spokeswoman with the school district says students aren’t required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance but the teacher wasn’t aware of this.
She added that the substitute teacher will no longer be able to work at any of the district’s schools and that the district is still looking into the matter.
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