LAKELAND, Fla. (WSET) — Police said a sixth-grader was arrested for causing a disturbance after he allegedly refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Washington Post reports that a substitute asked the student to stand for the pledge. They said the 11-year-old refused, saying that he thought the U.S. flag was racist.
According to Bay News 9, the substitute teacher asked the student "why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live." The substitute said he then said, "they brought me here."
“Well you can always go back," the teacher reportedly said, "because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore, I would find another place to live.”
The teacher then said she called the office because she "did not want to continue dealing with him." Police said a school resource officer removed the boy from the classroom.
According to police, the student was asked over 20 times to leave the classroom.
"The student failed to comply with the officer and the school administrator interfering with the educational process," the Dean of Students said in a release.
The boy was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. According to the arrest affidavit, the boy was arrested because he refused to follow commands and called school leaders racist.
"To be clear, the student was NOT arrested for refusing to participate in the pledge," police said. "This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom."
They said students are not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, per the Polk County School Board Code of Conduct for Students.