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A month after a Florida middle school student was arrested, charged and suspended from school after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has helped him get his charges dismissed. On Feb. 4, Jabari Talbot told his substitute teacher at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy that he won’t stand for the pledge because the American flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to Black people, Spectrum Bay News 9 reported. (In a court filing against the school, the boy and his attorney dispute that account, saying at no point in that exchange did the boy call the flag or anthem “racist,” or use that term at all. Rather, the filing says Jabari spoke of Black people not being treated fairly in America.) The substitute, Ana Alvarez, had asked the 11-year-old why he didn’t stand for the pledge, and a police report states Jabari became infuriated when Alvarez asked, “Why, if it was so bad here, he did not go to another place to [live]?” In court documents, the boy disputes this characterization, saying he did not become upset, but rather it was Alvarez who lost her cool. Jabari asked the sub if she meant he should go back to Africa, a filing with the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division reveals. It states that the teacher replied, “Yes, if that is where you came from … that is where you need to be!” The civil suit further states that Alvarez, who is identified in the filing as Cuban-American, ignored a Hispanic boy who also sat during the pledge as Jabari did, asking only the African-American child why he didn’t stand. A school resource officer arrested Jabari, later claiming he became disruptive, would not follow multiple orders and repeatedly called the teachers and administrators racist, the arrest affidavit states. It also said the sixth-grader threatened to have Alvarez and the principal fired and to beat the substitute. Jabari denies threatening Alvarez with a beating. A spokesperson with Polk County Public Schools said to Spectrum News that students are not required to do the pledge, which Alvarez was unaware of. She has since been banned from working at any schools in the district. (A 1943 Supreme Court case involving Jehovah’s Witnesses addressed the matter at the heart of Jabari’s case. In a 6-3 decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, justices found that government cannot compel expressions of patriotism, finding that a West Virginia school’s attempt to force two Jehovah’s Witnesses students to salute the flag violated their First Amendment rights.) https://atlantablackstar.com/2019/03/07/jay-zs-team-roc-helps-florida-boy-who-refused-to-stand-for-pledge-of-allegiance-get-charges-dropped/