Education

Girl Kneels During Pledge, Mom Calls New Black Panther Leader For Advice

U.S. flag: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

A 10-year-old Texas girl knelt during the Pledge of Allegiance at her school to protest the national anthem.

Sklya Madria, a fifth grader at Alexander Middle School, knelt three times in protest because the third verse of The Star Spangled Banner references slavery, reports KCEN TV.

“When I heard the third verse of the national anthem, I decided that’s not right and he shouldn’t have wrote that,” Madria said. Madria pointed out that the song’s writer, Francis Scott Key, owned slaves.

Madria alleged that the coach and principal at her school yelled at her for not standing.

“He told me you should respect my flag, and respect my nation, and you should stand up for this pledge,” she said to KCEN TV. “He yelled at me. He sent me to the principal. The principal called my mother and called me disgusting for not standing up.”

Madria’s mother, Elizabeth Owens, expressed her support for her daughter’s actions. Owens called Quanell X, a New Black Panther leader, for support.

“So when you talk about saying the pledge, it says with ‘freedom and justice for all?’ When in the hell is white America in this country given black folks freedom and justice for all?” Quanell X said.

The school district released a statement, saying that the school does not sing the national anthem. Instead, students recite the Pledge and the Texas Pledge, followed by a moment of silence.

The school stressed that the teacher did not discipline Madria in any way.

Now, Owen plans to turn in written consent to allow Madria to sit out during the Pledge. “I told her, ‘You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re standing for what you believe in.’ I support her 100 percent,” Owens said.

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