A Texas fifth grader has decided to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance at her middle school in protest of the national anthem.
Skyla Madria, 10, said to KVUE that she is protesting “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key because he was a slave owner, and one of the verses in the song that people do not sing refers to slavery.
The verse reads, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”
“When I heard the third verse of the national anthem, I decided that’s not right and he shouldn’t have wrote that,” Madria said to KVUE.
Madria got her inspiration from football player Colin Kaepernick, who recently kneeled during the national anthem in protest.
Madria said she has peacefully protested three times in the past two weeks. But she said she encountered issues with one teacher at Alexander Middle School in Pearland, who was not supportive of her decision to kneel.
Madria said the teacher yelled at her and asked her to stand up for the Pledge in respect for the flag. When she failed to do so, the teacher sent her to the principal’s office.
“The principal called my mother and called me disgusting for not standing up,” Madria said.
Her mother fully supported her actions and called local activist Quannel X to defend her against the school’s actions.
“Why would we ask any African American child or citizen to stand up and honor a flag with an anthem written by a slave owner who promised nothing but turmoil to blacks to the grave?” Quannel X said to KVUE.
A spokesperson for Pearland ISD said that students do not sing the national anthem at school. They do, however, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge, as well as observe a moment of silence.
After a fight with the school district that made it all the way up to the superintendent, Pearland ISD said it will allow Madria to kneel for the Pledge with her mother’s written consent.