A Detroit-area teacher has been placed on leave for allegedly using physical force to make an 11-year-old student stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Stone Chaney, a sixth grader at East Middle School in the suburban Detroit area of Farmington Hills, Michigan, says he has declined to participate in the pledge since second grade because he believes he should only pledge to God and family.
Chaney said he takes after his father, who works for a neighboring school district, who also sits during the pledge.
“God said don’t worship anything other than me, don’t worship any idols, and pledging to a flag would kind of be like worshiping it,” Chaney told WJBK. “It’s not if I have a reason or not, it’s my right.”
Chaney said he had been doing homework during the pledge on September 7 when a teacher physically grabbed him from his chair.
“A teacher just comes up, puts her arms under my armpits and snatches me out of my chair. I say I don’t stand for the pledge, she just glares at me and walks away,” Chaney said. “I just feel like my rights were violated.”
Farmington Public Schools Superintendent George Heitsch told Fox News that the district is investigating the incident and one teacher has been placed on leave as a result.
Heitsch said students have a right to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance, adding that students and faculty have a right “to be treated with dignity and respect,” Heitsch said.
Phillina Mullin, Chaney’s mother, said the teacher had no right to touch her son.
Chaney said he hopes that ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who became famous for sitting out the National Anthem to protest police brutality, takes notice of his quest to sit out the pledge.
Other teachers have been fired for taking a stand against those who choose to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance. A driver’s education teacher in Chicago had been fired in April for refusing to teach a student who did not want to stand for the pledge.