A mother in small-town South Carolina claims a high school science teacher urged her son, a freshman, to “go back to Africa” after he refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance because, the student told the teacher, “Donald Trump is going to send us back to Africa.”
The kerfuffle occurred on Tuesday at Battery Creek High School in Beaufort, S.C. (pop.: 12,361), reports The Beaufort Gazette, a local newspaper.
The unidentified 14-year-old boy’s mother, Nicole Whitmore, said about half the students in the — also unidentified — science teacher’s Tuesday morning class at Battery Creek High refused to stand for the Pledge or recite it.
Whitmore told the Gazette her son announced to a friend that the patriotic, 31-word oath is irrelevant to him because “Donald Trump is going to send us back to Africa.”
According to the mad mom, the science teacher then shot back that the student should “go back to Africa.”
Whitmore describes herself as black and Puerto Rican.
The science teacher is white, she said.
“I didn’t take kindly to it, and my son didn’t take kindly to it,” Whitmore told the Gazette. “You don’t tell my son to go back to Africa knowing you’re a different color than he is. I’m Puerto Rican and black, I know what I went through. I don’t want my son going through anything discriminative.”
Whitmore noted that her son has refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance or recite it since he was in the seventh grade. He has several reasons. Among them is his anger about South Carolina’s perpetual debate over the Confederate flag.
Whitmore and her son are also mad because they say Trump has denigrated recipients of food stamps. Whitmore, a full-time employee at a local Burger King, is food-stamp recipient.
School district officials say they are investigating the Tuesday incident, which apparently ended with the freshman serving some sort of punishment in a separate room.
“My son is 14 years old, a freshman at Battery Creek,” Whitmore told the Gazette. “This teacher is supposed to be an educator. He’s supposed to teach him better.”
School district noted that, since the Tuesday fracas, they have also admonished teachers that students don’t have to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, or recite it.
A 1943 Supreme Court case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, held that the Constitution protects students who don’t want to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. That case involved a student who belonged to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a source of frequent friction at America’s taxpayer-funded public school.
Last year, for example, several students at Pine Bush High School in the small town of Pine Bush, N.Y. expressed outrage at hearing the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic during routine morning announcements over the intercom on Wednesday. (RELATED: ARABIC Pledge Of Allegiance Recitation Causes Uproar At New York High School)
Also last year, officials with the New York City Department of Education blamed a principal’s incompetence for a ban on the Pledge of Allegiance — as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas — at a Brooklyn public school. The taxpayer-funded principal, Eujin Jaela Kim, came under fire after the New York Post exposed her as the instigator of a politically-correct policy outlawing the all-American triumvirate. (RELATED: NYC School System Blames Principal For Ban On Santa, Thanksgiving, Pledge Of Allegiance)
In 2013, a high school principal in a tiny town in western Nebraska outlawed the Pledge for a day because of the partial shutdown that caused some 17 percent of the federal government (and no part of Nebraska high schools) to cease functioning. One kid stood up in class and said the oath anyway, according to his proud mother. (RELATED: High School Principal Bans Pledge Of Allegiance Over Government Shutdown)
The month before, on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the principal at Concord-Carlisle High School in the suburbs of Boston read a Muslim poem to the entire school instead of the Pledge of Allegiance. He later apologized. (RELATED: Sept. 11, 2013: A Muslim Poem But No Pledge Of Allegiance At Boston-Area High School)