11-Year-Old Arrested After Refusing to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

An 11-year-old student in Florida was arrested after becoming "disruptive" over his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

This is a picture of the American flag.

Valentyn Semenov / EyeEm

This is a picture of the American flag.

An 11-year-old student was arrested in Florida—of course—after confronting his substitute teacher over his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The incident occurred on February 4 at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland when the kid told his substitute teacher that he would not take part in the pledge because, according to Tampa's Bay 9 News, "the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people." 

"The student became disruptive and the teacher contacted school administrators for assistance," Kyle Kennedy, spokesperson for Polk County Public Schools, said. "The school’s resource deputy also became involved." 

During their argument, the teacher asked him, "If it was so bad here, why he did not go to another place to live?" She claims he responded, "They brought me here." She fired back, "Well you can always go back because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I'm not welcome here any more I would find another place to live." The substitute then contacted the school’s office because she "did not want to continue dealing with him."

The child was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center where he was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended for three days. 

"I'm upset, I'm angry. I'm hurt," the student's mother, Dhakira Talbot, said. "More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should've been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should've been taken, it should've been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested." 

Talbot wants the charges against her son dropped. Kennedy said students aren't required to take part in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the substitute teacher was unaware. 

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