Demanding and promoting of the Pledge of Allegiance continues to cause controversy. A teacher from East Middle School in Farmington Hills was put on leave and is under investigation after he allegedly “violently” dragged a student out of his chair and tried to force him to stand for the pledge. Stone Chaney, a black sixth-grader out of Michigan, says he is confused and unwilling to return to that school after the incident happened.
There are two main objections to requiring of the Pledge. One objection states that a democratic republic built on freedom of dissent should not require its citizens to pledge allegiance to it, and that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects one's right to refrain from speaking or standing, which itself is also a form of speech in the context of the ritual of pledging allegiance. Another objection lies in the fact that the people who are most likely to recite the Pledge every day, small children in schools, cannot really give their consent or even completely understand the Pledge they are making.
Stone Chaney had just started his first week of sixth grade and on Sept. 7 his teacher attempted to force the kid to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. “The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently,” Stone said. “I was so confused. I didn’t know what was going on.” His father addressed the district directly at its last board meeting, defending his son’s right to do what he wishes when the pledge is being spoken. "It's his choice to sit," Brian Chaney said. "I don't make him sit. And they should respect that."
Stone had chosen not to stand because he doesn’t “pledge to a flag.” “I pledge to God and family,” Stone said. "I don't feel safe going to that school anymore because I don't know what they're going to do next," Stone added. Stone claims that the very next day after the initial incident, another teacher yelled at him for remaining seated during the pledge.
The superintendent of Farmington Public Schools released the following statement to WDIV:
"The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge. 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 and his family are looking into other options and will probably end up leaving the district, the news station notes.
Photo Credits: Ebony