A 6-year-old Florida boy decided to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance.
The boy’s mother, Eugenia McDowell, was sent a text message from the teacher the evening of Sept. 25 explaining the situation. McDowell did not know her son would choose to silently protest the Pledge of Allegiance, ABC reported.
ABC obtained a copy of the message.
“I knew where he had seen it [going down on one knee], but I did tell him that in the classroom, we are learning what it means to be a good citizen, we’re learning about respecting the United States of America and our country symbols and showing loyalty and patriotism and that we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”
— Laura Tapper (@LeesCrn_Tapper) September 15, 2017
Pasco County School District Spokesperson Linda Cobbe got involved with the situation. McDowell felt the teacher was stifling freedom of speech by letting the student know he should participate with the others. Cobbe explained to ABC that there is a rule that students have to stand for the morning pledge unless the parent has communicated with the school by letter beforehand.
“If he had that exemption, nothing would have been said. Students could stand, students could kneel, they don’t have to put their hand on their heart. They just have to be respectful of the students who are participating,” said Cobbe.
McDowell was not aware of the policy but nonetheless does not plan to submit a letter. She feels that the teacher pointed out the issue to her son in front of the class, which she disagrees with. Cobbe said the teacher only said in a low voice to the student “we stand for the pledge.”
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 24, 2017
McDowell talked about an email she sent to the teacher and principal after learning of the incident.
“I wanted an apology to my son in the same manner that she called him out for kneeling. I also wanted to know if she would be remorseful. If she demonstrated that, then I would have been okay with him remaining in her class,” said McDowell. But her son had already been assigned to a new class with a new teacher. She and the principal were still planning to meet.
The protest trend in the NFL that the student was imitating, and that some sports teams have already started restricting, have resulted in disagreements within football teams. The pre-game protests have also resulted in boos from fans, stadium staff quitting, and defunding of NFL projects, The Epoch Times reported.