Florida First Grader Punished for Kneeling During Pledge of Allegiance

A six-year-old out of Pasco County, FL followed what he saw in the NFL over the weekend by kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance, and his mother is now upset that he was forced to stand.

While a few players in the NFL have been taking a knee during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick began doing it in 2016, many players around the league reacted Sunday to President Donald Trump’s criticism of the national anthem protests by showing solidarity and taking a knee as the anthem sounded.

A first grader at Wiregrass Elementary School took a knee while holding his hand over his heart during the school’s Pledge of Allegiance and the teacher forced him to stand.

His mother then received the following text from the teacher, via Fox 13:

I just wanted to let you know that this morning when it was time to do the Pledge of Allegiance [your son[ went down on one knee. I know where he had seen it 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. I know its a sensitive issue but I wanted to make you aware. Thanks.

The boy’s mother, Eugenia McDowell, told Fox 13 that her son was “influenced” by what he had seen over the weekend and by their conversations.

According to Pasco County schools’ code of conduct, students may not participate in the daily Pledge of Allegiance with a note from their parents, but teachers cannot force a student to partake in the pledge. Teachers are told to report it to administration if a student does not stand without a note.

“It immediately caused him to think again about ever expressing himself in a way that would be different than how other people are expressing themselves,” McDowell said.

McDowell was supposed to meet with the teacher and principal over the issue Wednesday, but the teacher did not show up due to feeling attacked because McDowell got media involved.

The principal, school and McDowell all agreed it would be best for the boy to be transferred to another class, McDowell told Fox 13.

The teacher will not face official disciplinary action.

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