11-year-old arrested in school after allegedly refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance
The boy was reportedly charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence on February 4.
An 11-year-old student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida was reportedly arrested after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and allegedly told a teacher that "the flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to black people."
The boy was reportedly charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence on February 4, Bay News 9 reported. The child was also issued a three-day suspension.
The student's mother, Dhakira Talbot, said that officials took things a little too far by arresting her son who is reportedly enrolled in gifted classes and has been bullied in the past.
“My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should’ve been handled differently,” she said. “If any disciplinary action should’ve been taken, it should’ve been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested.”
The incident occurred when a substitute teacher, Ana Alvarez, ordered the 11-year-old to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. However, he did not and instead told her that he believed the flag was racist and the anthem was offensive.
Lawton Chiles Middle Academy flat out violated this boy's civil rights & the school's resource officer compounded their error by arresting him https://t.co/4QWfRGuCDc— TheKosherCoonhound™ (@pottymouthpup) February 17, 2019
Alvarez then asked the boy "why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live," the teacher said, according to a statement given by her to the school district.
According to the teacher, the boy replied with: "They brought me here."
The teacher then told the boy, "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.” Alvarez said that she eventually called the main office because she "did not want to continue dealing with him.”
According to an arrest affidavit, the student also allegedly called the school leaders racist, and threatened to get the school resource officer and the principal fired and beat up Alvarez.
The student, however, in an interview with Bay New 9 denied threatening to beat the teacher. While Polk County Public Schools spokesperson Kyle Kennedy insisted that the boy was not arrested because he did not stand for the pledge.
The Daily Mail in the UK has picked up my story about the 6th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy who was eventually after he refused to stand for the pledge. Link: https://t.co/SrsHJKKWGV— Stephanie Claytor (@ClaytorReports) February 17, 2019
“Students are not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance,” Kennedy told The Ledger. The sixth-grader was collared “after becoming disruptive and refusing to follow repeated instructions by school staff and law enforcement."
He also added that Alvarez will no longer work as a substitute teacher in Polk County: "Our HR department will contact Kelly Services, which provides our substitutes, to further refine how our substitutes are trained."