Eleven-year old Stone Chaney has been sitting for the Pledge of Allegiance long before NFL players were noticed “taking a knee” during the national anthem before games. Yet during his first week of sixth grade, one of his teachers apparently became outraged when the boy did not stand while his class recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Stone had just started his first week at East Middle School in Farmington Hills, Michigan when a teacher reportedly snatched him out of his seat and forced him to stand for the Pledge, according to a report in Click on Detroit on Thursday.
That teacher is now on administrative leave and is under investigation by the school district.
“The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently,” Stone recalled, adding, “I was so confused. I didn’t know what was going on.”
The devoutly religious boy explained to reporters that he has a valid reason for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. “I don’t stand, because I don’t pledge to a flag,” Stone said. “I pledge to God and family.”
According to his father, Brian Chaney, “It’s his choice to sit. I don’t make him sit. And they should respect that.” Chaney noted that Stone had been sitting during the Pledge since second grade, and it had never been an issue with teachers before.
The alleged incident happened on Sept. 7. The next day, Stone said that another teacher also yelled at him for sitting down during the Pledge.
“I don’t feel safe going to that school anymore, because I don’t know what they’re going to do next,” Stone said.
Marine veteran Stephen Stevens wants the boy to know what standing for the Pledge of Allegiance really means. “I would love to be able to talk to them and get their side and explain my side so maybe we could come to an understanding,” he said. “Because I get they have that right, but I don’t believe they understand what that right really entails.”
“If they’re fighting for freedom, they’re fighting for us to have choices,” Brian Chaney noted, adding, “Then it’s our choice.”
The superintendent of Farmington Public Schools released the following statement:
The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge. The teacher allegedly involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave. At this time, the District cannot speculate about the outcome of the pending investigation.
Stone hasn’t gone back to school, and the family is now considering removing him from the school district.
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