11-Year-Old Florida Boy Kicked Out Of Class, Arrested For Being Disruptive After Refusing To Stand For Pledge Of Allegiance

A Florida sixth-grader was kicked out of class after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and later arrested over an encounter with school officials.

The initial incident occurred on Feb. 4 at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida between a substitute teacher and the 11-year-old boy. The boy's name has not been released by authorities due to his status as a minor.

According to Bay News 9, the student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The substitute teacher, identified by Polk County Public Schools as Ana Alvarez, told the student to stand and he refused, reportedly telling Alvarez that the flag is racist and the national anthem is offensive to black people.

In a statement provided to the school district, Alvarez asked the student, "why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live." According to the statement, the student responded by saying, "they brought me here."

Alvarez said she told the student that he could always go back and that she came to America from Cuba.

In her statement, Alvarez said she told the student, "the day I feel I'm not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live."

Afterward, Alvarez said she called the office "because I did not want to continue dealing with him."

The student was later arrested by a school resource officer after a confrontation with school officials where he allegedly threatened to beat the teacher and get other school officials fired, 10 News reports. The student was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence.

Polk County Public Schools spokesman Kyle Kennedy said the arrest was not because of the student's refusal to stand for the pledge.

The child's mother, Dhakira Talbot, told Bay News 9 that she is angry about what happened. The student, who was also present during the interview, told the television station that he did not threaten the teacher.

"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."

Talbot is asking that the charges be dropped against her son.

"I want the charges dropped and I want the school to be held accountable for what happened because it shouldn't have been handled the way it was handled," Talbot told Bay News 9.

According to Kennedy, Alvarez is no longer employed with the school district, but that she was unaware that students in Polk County Schools are not required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Kennedy told 10 News that the district is reviewing the training policy for substitute teachers with the company that provides them to the schools.

Talbot has moved her son to a private school.

Pledge of Allegiance
The words to the US Pledge of Allegiance (L) are seen next to a US flag as 27 children from 19 countries attend a special Halloween-themed ceremony at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Washington Field Office in Fairfax, Virginia on October 30, 2015. The children, ages 7 to 14, also dressed up for the event where they received Certificates of US Citizenship and took the oath of allegiance. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
11-Year-Old Florida Boy Kicked Out Of Class, Arrested For Being Disruptive After Refusing To Stand For Pledge Of Allegiance | U.S.