Pledge of allegiance controversy: A Florida teacher was suspended for forcing a Jehovah's Witness student to pledge allegiance to the American flag, against religious doctrine. Was this a battle over the pledge of allegiance, or of allegiance to the teacher?
While a Florida teacher was suspended for physically forcing a fourth grader to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, her greater misstep was in a total lack of respect and humility when it comes to the children in her care.
My kids have said the Pledge of Allegiance since they were old enough to mangle it into, “One station. Underground. Invisible. With liberty and juice sticks for all!”
However, there are kids whose parents have very strong religious beliefs – in this case Jehovah's Witnesses who are forbidden from worshiping objects, including the American flag – that allow them to love their country, but alter the traditional classroom practice.
According to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, Anne Daigle-McDonald, a teacher at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill, Fla., didn’t just force a child, a Jehovah's Witness, to place his hand over his heart during the Sept. 11 pledge, but went to the extremes of publicly bullying, berating, and judging him and his family.
The teacher admitted that the boy’s mother had told her about their religious beliefs, but said she was not aware that included the pledge.
However, according to the Times, Ms. Daigle-McDonald not only “yanked his wrist” physically forcing him to take the pledge posture, but carried the issue over to the next day when she allegedly told the class: "In my classroom, everyone will do the pledge; no religion says that you can't do the pledge. If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."
In my humble opinion, as the mom of four boys who has met many teachers over the past 20 years, I believe this wasn’t a battle over allegiance to the flag.
This was about allegiance to the teacher and her word in the classroom.