A sixth-grade boy in Florida was arrested after he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during school.
The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release, according to NBC News.
The incident began at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy when the student allegedly said the national anthem was offensive.
A substitute teacher with the Polk School District then asked the child, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live,” according to a statement from the district.
“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.
After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” before calling the school’s office.
A district spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, said students are not required to participate in the pledge and that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy. She is no longer employed by the district.
The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school's claims, telling NBC News that her son "is not a disrespectful kid."
"What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasoning," Talbot said. "It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist."
Once the school’s dean of students arrived at the class, he asked the student to leave the room over 20 times.
“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”
The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. "This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom."
Talbot denied that her son made any threats.
(Photo: Fuse/Getty Images)
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