A Virginia public school teacher has been removed from his classroom after he allegedly kicked out a student who refused to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance, authorities announced Tuesday.
The Centreville High School teacher allegedly forced 15-year-old Eric Trammel from his seat and threw him out of class in November when Trammel would not participate in saying the Pledge, reports The Washington Post.
Trammel reported the incident to school authorities, who investigated the incident and found the teacher to be in violation of school policy. Fairfax County Public School rules dictate that students are allowed to sit or decline to participate in the pledge as long as they are quiet. Teachers are not allowed to punish such students.
“The incident at Centreville High School is unacceptable behavior by a classroom instructor and directly violates an existing and long-standing [Fairfax County Public Schools] policy,” the superintendent of Fairfax County Public schools told WaPo in a statement. “Following a thorough investigation by my office, the teacher in question will not be returning to an FCPS school. FCPS has apologized to the student and the student’s family for the incident.”
Trammel said he had been refusing to stand for the Pledge for more than a year in order to protest inequality.
“The country is in a very divided place right now and there’s a lot of injustices around the U.S. I feel like me sitting can spread awareness to that,” Trammel said. “I don’t believe in forcing other people to sit. … That’s just a personal decision.”
A lawyer for the teacher called the allegations “without merit.”
Students have come into the spotlight in recent months as they too have begun protesting the flag and the national anthem. A Houston, Texas student received a suspension from school after she refused to stand for the pledge, though school policy dictated students must stand unless they have a note from their parents.
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