FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - Many NFL players have expressed their beliefs by kneeling for the national anthem before games, but when a Farmington Hills student took a similar stand, he said his teacher crossed the line.
A teacher was put on leave and is under investigation after he allegedly got physical with a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The student, Stone Chaney, is a sixth-grader at East Middle School in Farmington Hills.
Stone had just started his first week at East Middle School, but his family isn't sure if he'll go back. Stone said he felt his rights were violated when he didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
"The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently," Stone said. "I was so confused. I didn't know what was going on."
Stone said the homeroom teacher tried to force him to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
'I pledge to God and family'
"I don't stand because I don't pledge to a flag," Stone said. "I pledge to God and family."
The alleged incident happened Sept. 7. Stone said the next day, another teacher 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.
His father addressed the district directly during their last board meeting.
"It's his choice to sit," Brian Chaney said. "I don't make him sit. And they should respect that."
Marine veteran Stephen Stevens sees things differently.
"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," Stevens 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 said. "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."
The family is exploring its options. Stone hasn't gone back to school, but they're probably going to leave the district.
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