Teacher accused of assaulting student who sat during pledge

DETROIT — Ever since Stone Chaney was a second-grader at Beechview Elementary School in Farmington Hills, Mich., he’s sat during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance with no incident.

That changed last week at East Middle School on the third day of the school year, when the sixth-grader says he was yanked out of his chair by one teacher on Thursday and yelled at by another the next day when he didn’t stand for the pledge.

Now one of the teachers has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an investigation by Farmington Public Schools. Stone, 11, and his parents are drawing attention to the incident because they don’t want to see it happen to other children.

“I’m doing this for me, my brothers, everyone across the state and everyone across the country,” said Stone, whose parents pulled him out of school this week and are weighing their options. Stone, a sixth-grader, said he doesn’t want to go back to East.

“I want to go to school, but not there. I don’t feel safe going there,” said Stone, who said his decision to sit during the pledge came well before football player Colin Kaepernick received national attention for kneeling during the national anthem.

The incidents began Thursday morning during Stone’s homeroom class at East. When it was time to say the pledge, Stone did what he normally does: He stayed seated.

“I was in my chair doing my homework … All of a sudden I’m being snatched out of my chair. I told the lady that I don’t stand for the pledge and she just kind of glared at me,” said Stone, 11.

“I was confused when it happened because I didn’t know what was going on. And then I was irritated because that’s not supposed to happen,” Stone said.

The next day, when another teacher was in his homeroom class, Stone was working on a work sheet when the pledge was being recited. In the middle of the pledge, he said, the teacher noticed him sitting.

“She starts yelling at me, telling me to get up. I just kept doing my work,” he said. “She speed walks over to me, yells at me to get up. She wanted to know why. I told her that I don’t pledge to a flag. I pledge to God and to my family.”

George Heitsch, superintendent of Farmington Public Schools, where East is located, said in a statement that the district offers every student the opportunity to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance and expects “every child and adult in our district to be treated with dignity and…

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