Verbal Assault Allegedly Followed
A middle school teacher in Detroit, Michigan has been placed on administrative leave following allegations that she “violently” forced a sixth-grade student to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on September 7th.
Following this, the student’s father Brian Chaney publicly announced on his Facebook page, he was “verbally assaulted the next day.”
“My son Stone was violently snatched from his chair for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance on Thursday,” Chaney wrote, “then verbally assaulted the next day… THIS IS A VIOLATION OF HIS CIVIL RIGHTS. School staff were the perpetrators in both instances.”
Stone Chaney, 11, attends a Farmington Public Schools middle school in Detroit. According to The Detroit News, “the youth had declined to stand for the pledge since second grade after learning Chaney had also stopped as a way of decrying social injustices.”
“Stone hadn’t previously encountered problems for his stance and ‘doesn’t despise anyone for standing for the flag or saying the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance,’” the outlet reported.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Farmington Public Schools Superintendent George Heitsch said that “leaders have opened an investigation into the incident. Chaney said that the educator who allegedly forced his son to stand during the pledge is a consultant who trains other teachers, but the district has not confirmed that.”
Heitsch told the Post that the “district supports each student’s right to decide whether to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance,” continuing that “at Farmington Public Schools, we expect every child and adult in our district to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The ACLU of Michigan weighed in on the matter via Twitter, calling “any requirement for a student to stand for the pledge of allegiance… blatantly unconstitutional.”
This is Terrible. Not only b/c of alleged violence. Also, b/c no student is required by law to stand or recite pledge of allegiance. https://t.co/0TNuzUlliz— ACLU of Michigan (@ACLUofMichigan) September 15, 2017
In the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, #SCOTUS ruled that compelling (1/2)— ACLU of Michigan (@ACLUofMichigan) September 15, 2017
public school students to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance violates students’ First Amendment rights. (2/2)— ACLU of Michigan (@ACLUofMichigan) September 15, 2017
“I’m going to say we’re quite disappointed,” Brian Chaney said at a board of education meeting this week. “My wife and I, my father-in-law, my parents, my entire family… we’ve shed many, many emotions in the last four or five days. We are very disappointed that when we dropped our son off into the hands of East Middle School, we thought it would be nurturing hands.”
Video of the meeting, as well as coverage from Chaney’s local ABC affiliate, can be seen below:
“What we see on the TVs, what’s going on in America, it just came to my living room,” the boy’s father concluded. “Tears are done. I’m mad now. We’re looking for accountability.”
According to the local affiliate, the school has not released the name of the teacher placed on administrative leave. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.
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