For years, American students have joined together at the start of the school day to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge is an expression of allegiance to the flag of the United States and students are taught to stand, place their hand over their heart and face toward the direction of the flag in the classroom.
When fifteen year old Shemar Cooper decided to sit down during the Pledge of Allegiance, while his fellow classmates stood, he cause quite the uproar. When his Eisenhower High School Spanish teacher in the Blue Island, Illinois, demanded that Cooper stand up for the pledge, he refused and went on to say that “America sucks.”
Cooper’s mother, Kelly Porter, apologized to the Spanish teacher for her son’s language but refused to apologize for his choice to sit down. The following week, Cooper again, sat down during the pledge and the teacher allegedly used physical force on the teen, as he attempted to pull the boy out of his seat.
Porter threatened to press charges against that teacher and notified the Blue Island Police Department of the incident. She also went on to say that she was proud of her son for standing up for his decision and Cooper, himself voiced his opinion on how he feels blacks are treated in the United States. “America doesn’t respect blacks,” Shemar told WGN. “Until they stop killing us, I’m not going to stand up.”
Porter confirmed that her family does not hate America, but instead they disapprove of some of the actions that are taken toward blacks.
Recently, another incident occurred when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernic refused to stand up for the National Anthem during a game. Kaepernic, who had similar reasons for his choice, created quite the controversy. Porter claims that she nor her son knew anything about the incident surrounding the NFL player.
Following Cooper’s refusal to stand up, principal of the Eisenhower High School released a statement saying the following:
“Eisenhower High School takes any allegations of violations of students rights seriously. We respect students’ First Amendment right to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Porter is hoping that the teacher will be suspended for his actions and the school is currently looking further into the situation.
When a quiz was posted following this article, 88% of people agreed that the teacher should not be suspended and twelve percent feel that the teacher should be suspended.
There was quite an array of posts from commenters on this topic. Some felt that the teen had a right to sit down during the Pledge of Allegiance, while others were quite angry about his choice.
“If he doesn’t want to stand for the pledge, He can go sit in the hall or the principle’s office until later!”
“I agree with the teacher. We need to require our students to respect the flag as this is taught, it’s not automatic.This kid is following thru with something he heard at home or with what the football player did. The student shouldn’t get away with this and if he does this will spread like cancer and we may as well take out the pledge thus bowing to the students.