A Florida boy was arrested at a Lakeland middle school earlier this month after he reportedly caused a disturbance that apparently stemmed from his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Ledger reports that the incident happened on February 6 when the young boy said “the flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to black people.” Kay Alvarez, a substitute teacher at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, reportedly ordered the boy to stand regardless, but according to police, he continued to refuse, causing a disturbance in the classroom.
“The student was asked over 20 times to leave the classroom by the Dean of Students,” a news release by the Lakeland Police Department read. “The School Resource Officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused. The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”
The Lakeland Police Department stressed that the boy was not arrested for his refusal to stand for the Pledge Allegiance. Polk County Public Schools spokesman Kyle Kennedy told the outlet that students are not required to stand if they choose not to. The teacher, however, reportedly said she didn’t know that students had the option of refusing to stand.
“Well you can always go back,” the teacher reportedly told the boy. “I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.”
The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, told Spectrum News that she felt the teacher was out of place and didn’t handle the situation appropriately.
“She was wrong. She was way out of place,. If she felt like there was an issue with my son not standing for the flag, she should’ve resolved that in a way different manner than she did.”
“She told my son to go back to his homeland,” Talbot added. “He was confused. He said, ‘What do you mean? Africa?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’”
School officials, however, reportedly said the student threatened to “beat that teacher” and “get you all fired.” The boy then allegedly yelled at a school resource officer and the dean while calling them racist.
“Suspend me! I don’t care. This school is racist,” the boy said, according to the arrest affidavit.
The student is now facing two misdemeanors of disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence, but Talbot plans to fight the charges. She heads to court on February 19.
The teacher was removed from her position at Lawton Chiles Academy and cannot teach at any Polk County school going forward, according to 10 News.
“I’m upset, I’m angry. I’m hurt,” 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.”
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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