LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. – The controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has now apparently trickled down to students as young as 6 years old.
A Florida mother is in a rage after her first-grade son took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance in class on Monday at Wiregrass Elementary School, where the boy’s teacher called him out on it, WFTS reports.
“She told him right away, based on what he told me, to stand up and to stop it,” the unidentified mother told the news site. “That’s not her right.”
The mother shared a text message she allegedly received from her son’s teacher:
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 knew 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 it’s a sensitive issue but I wanted to make you aware. Thanks
The woman alleges the teacher’s actions show the Pasco County School District is unconcerned with
“inclusion” and “diversity.”
District spokeswoman Linda Cobbe pointed out that it is, in fact, the teacher’s right to demand that her students stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, regardless of what they watch on television. The controversy, of course, follows President Donald Trump’s comments encouraging NFL team owners to fire players who disrespect their country by kneeling during the national anthem before games.
Numerous players responded to the president by doing exactly that, effectively snubbing the president and the countless members of the military who lost their lives defending their freedom – which both made them wealthy and protects their right to freedom of speech.
Students in Florida, however, are required by state law to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
“State law says that the only way that a student can be exempted from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is if they have a written request from their parent and even then the law says that they still have to stand,” Cobbe said. “We certainly would not want to infringe on anyone’s rights, but we have to follow state law.”
Regardless, the irritated mother told WFTS her 6-year-old son is learning his lessons about respect for country at home, where it apparently takes a back seat to other more important priorities like coming to his own conclusions and decisions.
“What (the text message) said to me was that him taking a knee was the exact opposite – (That) he was disrespectful of the country, he was being disrespectful of the flag,” she said, “and we don’t teach that.”
The NFL kneeling controversy has also infected other public schools across the country with students kneeling during games and similar stunts.
A recent Reuters poll shows 58 percent of American adults think “professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events.”
A similar poll conducted by Remington Research Group shows 64 percent of voters agree with Trump that players should stand.