Saturday, September 19, 2020
US flag

Va. student allegedly disciplined for sitting for pledge

A Virginia teacher allegedly disciplined a high school student for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, which was a violation of rules established by the Fairfax County Public Schools, and so he won’t be returning to the classroom right now, the Washington Post reports.

Centreville High School, Clifton, Va. (Voxitatis)

The sophomore student, identified as Eric Trammel, reported the incident to school administrators, according to the article. An email statement from FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabard didn’t name the teacher but noted that an investigation had been conducted into the incident at Centreville High School in Clifton.

According to Eric, the teacher removed him from his first period driver’s ed class on a November day after seeing him sitting during the morning recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. He says the teacher yelled at him and then took him out of the room, where he was forced to stand in the cold before walking down to the office to report the incident.

Eric said he has refused to participate in the pledge since he was in eighth grade and first became aware of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The country is in a very divided place right now and there’s a lot of injustices around the US,” he was quoted as saying. “I feel like me sitting can spread awareness to that; I don’t believe in forcing other people to sit. … That’s just a personal decision.”

Mr Brabrand described the teacher’s reaction as “unacceptable” for a classroom teacher and said it “directly violates an existing FCPS policy.”

Citing an attorney for the accused teacher, the Post reported that he claims the allegations are without merit. However, the details of the matter cannot be reported or discussed with the media, because it involves a personnel matter and no public court record exists in the case yet.

The US Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) that students can’t be forced to recite the pledge.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Students help in wake of Gulf Coast storms

Hurricane victims in the South got some much needed help from students at one Louisiana school. Laura and Sally have been very destructive.

Scientific American endorses a candidate

It's rare that a science journal would endorse a presidential candidate, but it has happened, due mainly to Pres. Trump's rejection of science.

Student news roundup, Maryland, Sept. 16

The pandemic reveals much more about us than our unpreparedness for virtual learning; Md. students look at healthcare and choices about schooling.

Smoke from Calif. paints the East Coast sun

The sunrise this morning in Baltimore and Chicago was cooled by smoke from the Calif. wildfires, which created a thick haze aloft.

Student news roundup, Illinois, Sept. 14

Special ed advocate in Evanston dies; Remembering 9/11; Business, fine arts, and cultural life during the pandemic.

No, the president can’t run for a 3rd term

The 22nd Amendment limits the number of times a president can be elected to two. But maybe Constitutions mean little to the current administration.

Worst Calif. wildfire season in decades

Wildfires in what could be one of Calif.'s worst autumns ever have destroyed structures, including schools, killed people, and mass evacuations.

Children will wait to impress others

Does it pay off to wait for a bigger reward, or should you just take a smaller reward quicker? The "marshmallow test" has some insights.

School opens virtually in most Md. districts

School is now in session across all of Maryland, and it's mostly online, despite calls to keep trying to get in-person instruction.

Student news roundup, Illinois, Sept. 8

The pandemic, performing arts, and politics generally led student news stories from the Prairie State this past week.

On Trump’s ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ remark

It was hard to swallow when it was reported that the president said military personnel who had died in battle were suckers and losers.