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  1. 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/
  2. 6th grader says rights violated when forced to stand for Pledge An 11-year-old boy says his decision not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at school got him roughed up by a teacher and lectured by another. Now both are facing disciplinary action for their actions. Stone Chaney, 11, says he's been choosing to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance since 2nd grade. He said people have asked him in the past about hsi decision not to stand but has never had an issue - until now. On the third day of the 6th grade, that all changed. "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," Stone said. "I just feel like my rights were violated. And she was the teacher consultant; the person who teaches other people not to put their hands on students. So who knows what other teachers she's taught her way of thinking." The rough start to his first year at East Middle School got even worse when he says he returned the next morning to a substitute teacher driving the point home and ordering him to stand. She also told him he would need a special note to be allowed to sit. "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," he said. "It's not if I have a reason or not, it's my right." His parents demanded action at a school board meeting, now both teachers have been placed on administrative leave. His mother, Phillina Mullin, said the teacher should not have put her hands on Stone. "One of the main issues we're having a problem with is the fact that an adult felt the need to put their hands on my child, "Very proud of my son. He's a national hero right now," Brian Chaney, his father, said. FOX 2 reached out to Farmington schools for a comment. The superintendent said it supports the rights of all students with this statement: Farmington Public Schools offers every student the opportunity each day to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge. In this particular instance, school leaders began their investigation as soon as they were made aware of the situation, which was the day before the most recent Board meeting. The teacher allegedly involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation. At Farmington Public Schools, we expect every child and adult in our district to be treated with dignity and respect. At this time, the District cannot speculate about the outcome of the pending investigation. We assure our parents and families that when any situation like this occurs, we remain committed to providing an education of excellence to every student. -Dr. George C. Heitsch Superintendent Farmington Public Schools Although the family is encouraged by the district's recent action, they're focusing now on the bigger picture. "I have three younger brothers and hope it never happens to them, nobody in East (middle school). Nobody in Michigan, nobody all over the country," Stone said. Stone is getting national attention for this, doing interviews all day long, and getting attention on social media. He's hoping now to get the attention of Colin Kaepernick. He will likely not be returning to the school. The school district is expecting to release another statement tomorrow. http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/6th-grader-says-rights-violated-when-forced-to-stand-for-pledge Â
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