Another Student Berated for Not Reciting the Pledge

We have yet another instance of a student exercising their right not to recite the pledge of allegiance and then being humiliated by a small-minded teacher in front of the class. This time it’s in New Hampshire and the student is demanding an apology. She ought to be demanding more than that.

Fatima Smart, 14, said a Monadnock Regional Middle School teacher didn’t approve of her actions, and after the pledge was over, told her that if she wasn’t going to stand, she could leave.

Not standing for the pledge is a sensitive issue, but New Hampshire law states that student participation is voluntary, and Smart said she was just exercising her rights.

“I don’t like our government at all,” she said. “I think they are making bad decisions, and I didn’t stand.”

Smart said that after she didn’t stand for the pledge, she was kicked out of class and then lectured in front of the other students.

“She kind of used me as an example in front of the class to say that, ‘You have to stand for the flag salute, or you can be like Fatima and wait outside,'” Smart said.

Two months after the incident, she and her family said they’re still waiting for an apology.

“They intimidated and humiliated our daughter, and it’s become a public spectacle because of their lack of humility to extend an apology,” said her stepfather, Steve Boscarino.

They broke both state and federal law. There needs to be more than an apology, there needs to be punishment for the teacher — there is never an excuse for a teacher humiliating a student for any reason — and training for all the other teachers to make sure this never happens again.

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  • Mr Ed

    If required to say The Pledge may I suggest using the traditional Roman salute and finish with “hail victory”.

  • whheydt

    Re: Mr Ed @ #1…

    Or the “Bellamy Salute” as originally intended. (And, of course, stick to the original wording as well and no nonsense about the change Congress enacted in 1954.)

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I don’t like where this is going. Look, I’m one of you. I’m on your side. Like you, I’m not against freedom, but If we don’t demand blind obedience to authority from our children, what will happen when they grow up?

  • Jared James

    I don’t see what’s such a big deal about humiliating a student for exercising her so-called “rights.” Gobitis was more of a suggestion than a law, really.

  • Synfandel

    Perhaps school boards all over the US should instruct their teachers to stop wasting time coercing the chanting of meaningless promises of obedience out of students and get on with teaching the Pythagorean theorem, the periodic table, the capital of Armenia, and the circle of fifths—oh, and maybe even the constitution and the rights of free citizens.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Don’t you know it’s so much more important to be seen standing, saluting and pledging allegiance to a flag than it is to stand up for what that flag allegedly represents?

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    HEY! Our soldiers died to protect your rights! The least you can do to show appreciation is to never exercise those rights! (Besides, those rights immediately lose value once you take therm out of their original packaging).

  • theDukedog7 .

    The teacher was out of line. She was wrong to berate the kid, who was just exercising her rights, and the teacher should be disciplined. I don’t think litigation is appropriate–the school’s money should be spent on the kids, not lawyers.

    People should be free to publicly act (or not act) on their deeply held beliefs, without punishment by the government. No pledge, no cake, whatever. Let freedom ring.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “…the teacher should be disciplined. I don’t think litigation is appropriate…”

    And if the teacher is NOT disciplined? Luckily, everyone always does what they should and litigation exists solely for evil lawyers and atheists to harass good people.

    People SHOULD live up to their contracts. I don’t think litigation is appropriate.

    People SHOULD pay for negligent or intentional damage to persons and/or property. I don’t think litigation is appropriate.

  • theDukedog7 .

    If this is litigated, the people who will pay will be the kids in the school district.

    As for the girl who was berated, I feel sorry for her–she was mistreated–but life isn’t the lottery and you don’t get paid everytime someone treats you bad.

  • Cal

    @10 – The story states that the family has been waiting for two months for an apology. No litigation was mentioned or needed for the teacher to be disciplined and for the school to apologize. I did not see in the story that the family was expecting or looking for a payout.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @11:

    The kid deserves an apology. And it should have been immediate. In fact, the teacher should have commended her for having the courage to stand (or sit) for her beliefs. The teacher could have even spent some class time (if the kid agreed) discussing the kid’s viewpoints. It could have been a great opportunity to teach the class about pluralism and respect for the beliefs of others.

    If there is no apology, the parents can go to the school board or the state and ask that the administrators who refused to do their jobs be held accountable.

    Let’s hope there’s no litigation. “Payday” should play no role in this.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    People should be free to publicly act (or not act) on their deeply held beliefs, without punishment by the government. No pledge, no cake, whatever. Let freedom ring.

    Wow, our newest reich-wing Christian troll is really really REALLY obsessed with cake. How many different threads has he tried to hijack to bang on and on about religious freedom (and no other kind of freedom I might add) and cake?

  • theDukedog7 .

    @13:

    [Wow, our newest reich-wing Christian troll is really really REALLY obsessed with cake.]

    The parallel is obvious. Both the kid and the baker stood up for their deeply held beliefs, and were punished by government agents for it. Both deserve protection and respect.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    There’s one important difference you’re ignoring here: the kid was not hurting anyone, while the baker was bullying and burdening innocent people who had just as much religious rights as he had.

  • whheydt

    Re: theDukeDog7 @ #10…

    The teacher violated the *law* and the child’s Constitutional rights. While all the parents are asking for is an apology, one way that one may seek redress for a civil wrong is by suing. Such a suit doesn’t need to seek more than nominal damages, and smart defendants–when they know they’re in the wrong, but have failed to address the issue promptly and correctly–can avoid large awards is to seek an immediate settlement, thus minimizing the cost–and the damages–for all concerned.

    The school district has a number of ways to get out of this either for free or at very little cost. They can start by issuing a sincere apology and pledging that it will never happen again. One way to limit any chance of recurrence would be to discipline the teacher, who signally failed to heed the law. They can also agree to make sure that *all* the teachers in the district are aware of what the law actually holds in this sort of situation and let it be known that any further incidents may be considered firing offenses. They can also make sure that the students are made aware of *their* rights in such situations.

    Or, of course, they could simply drop the pledge (and make sure the teachers know that it has been dropped…by district policy) as it serves no *educational* purpose.

    I would prefer that these things are taken care of without litigation, but it only takes one school administrator with a stick up his backside to make litigation necessary to get the point across, though it’s usually a school board with a collection sticks up backsides that digs the hole deep enough to cost a district large amounts of money that they can ill afford–almost invariably against the advice of their regularly retained attorney.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @15:

    Which is why the baker deserves even more protection. Free exercise, like free speech, is particularly important for ideas you despise. People who do popular things don’t need protection.

    And it’s hard to see how declining to bake the gay wedding cake is much of a “burden”. If the shop was closed for a day when the gay couple stopped by, and they went to another baker, it would have been the same “burden”.

    Sure justifies destroying the baker’s livelihood, eh?

  • theDukedog7 .

    @16:

    Who pays the cost of the litigation?

  • thinkingman

    Its more perpendicular than parallel. The kid was protesting against the government. The baker was discriminating against a private citizen. i’ll leave it up to you to figure out which is a constitutionally protected right and which is illegal.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And it’s hard to see how declining to bake the gay wedding cake is much of a “burden”.

    It’s even harder to see how NOT declining to bake a cake — and get paid for it — is any sort of “burden” either. If baking a cake for someone you don’t like is such a huge onerous burden, then maybe you shouldn’t be baking cakes at all.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The baker deserves MORE protection because he’s bullying innocent people? Seriously? Dukedog, you’re clearly nothing but a hateful bigoted piece of filth, feeling emboldened by the latest talking-points the libertarians have handed you.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @19:

    Both are constitutionally protected rights– Free Exercise Clause and Free Speech Clause.

    The baker wasn’t “discriminating against a private citizen”. The baker never refused any service to any customer because they were gay. The baker refused to participate in a gay wedding. A wedding is not capable of being “discriminated against”. It is an activity, not a person. The baker refused to violate her deeply held religious belief that gay weddings are sinful. She still serves gays cheerfully–cookies, pies, non-wedding cakes, cannoli,s, whatever.

    She’s not discriminating against a person. She’s not interfering with a compelling state interest (Gays must have wedding cakes baked by devout Christian bakers!!!). She’s not being sanctioned in the least restrictive way.

    She’s just exercising her constitutional rights, and her human rights.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    theDukedog7 – It’s probably come in previous threads but I haven’t seen it, so please forgive me for asking for you explanation of why it’s okay for Christian business owners who sincerely believe in the Curse of Ham to turn away black customers.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The baker wasn’t “discriminating against a private citizen”.

    Yes, he/she was: he/she was refusing to serve one client on an equal basis to other clients asking for the same service. That’s discrimination.

    The baker never refused any service to any customer because they were gay. The baker refused to participate in a gay wedding. A wedding is not capable of being “discriminated against”. It is an activity, not a person.

    This is nothing but mindless sophistry and non-sequiturs.

    She’s not interfering with a compelling state interest…

    Guaranteeing equal rights to all citizens is a compelling state interest. Just like making sure all races have equal economic opportunities is a compelling state interest.

    Dr. Egnor, you’re nothing but a shameless bigoted liar. You must know you’re not fooling anyone here — which is probably why you’re trying to get the last word through sheer endurance and persistent trolling.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The baker never refused any service to any customer because they were gay. The baker refused to participate in a gay wedding. A wedding is not capable of being “discriminated against”. It is an activity, not a person.

    The bus driver never refused any service to any customer because they were black. The driver refused to participate in a black bus ride. A bus ride is not capable of being “discriminated against”. It is an activity, not a person.

    So tell us, Dr. Egnor, which of the above statements is valid, and which is not. And please explain the reasoning behind your answer.

  • 930i7

    I say scrap the pledge altogether. The time could be better used reading an article or amendment to the Constitution, or a paragraph from the Declaration of Independence.

  • freemage

    theDukedog7 . says

    May 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    The teacher was out of line. She was wrong to berate the kid, who was just exercising her rights, and the teacher should be disciplined. I don’t think litigation is appropriate–the school’s money should be spent on the kids, not lawyers.

    People should be free to publicly act (or not act) on their deeply held beliefs, without punishment by the government. No pledge, no cake, whatever. Let freedom ring.

    You’re right that the school’s money SHOULD be spent on the students rather than lawyers. The way to accomplish that is to not do things that will get them sued. It’s actually pretty simple, and if the school board can’t figure it out, or fails to comprehend how the laws of this country, and their state, apply in a cut-and-dried situation, then they can be voted out next election so there is no recurrence. Citizens who are unhappy that their elected goofballs waste money by failing to respect other citizens’ rights should direct their ire at the individuals responsible, not the victims.

  • pixiedust

    ““I don’t like our government at all,” she said. “I think they are making bad decisions, and I didn’t stand.””

    She refused the pledge because she hates Obama. RWNT heads are exploding.

  • whheydt

    Re: theDukeDog7 @ #18…

    Depends on state law (if it’s a state case) or Federal law in a Federal case. I can cite one example (you might read up on, if you think your blood pressure can take it), and that’s Kitzmiller v. Dover. The Dover school board ignored the advice of their regular attorney. They were defended by TMLC, pro bono. The school board lost. The school board had no legal fees of their own (they probably had some expenses). It was ruled that the plaintiffs could recover costs. Since there was an election between the time the trial ended and the decision was handed down, and those responsible for the policy that got the board sued were tossed out, and the new board accepted the judge’s decision and declined to appeal, the plaintiffs lawyers waived 50% of the recoverable costs. Not only did it cost Dover a cool $1 million, but–by rejecting their own attorneys advice–their insurance company refused to cover any of it.

    The original Dover school board had signally failed to understand the first rule of holes.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    theDukedog7 “And it’s hard to see how declining to bake the gay wedding cake is much of a “burden”. If the shop was closed for a day when the gay couple stopped by, and they went to another baker, it would have been the same ‘burden’.”

    TheDukedog7 has a point. It’s not a burden for The Gays. It’s similar to the Christian bakery being closed for a day, if “closed” means “closed for gays but open for everybody else”.

    If anything, it’s a greater burden on our Nation’s Christian Bakers, since they have to sprint to lock the doors, shut off the lights and hide behind the counter every time a pair of Homogrooms or Lesbrides gets near the door! When is the State going to fine and punish The Gays for that?!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Modus: if you think that’s bad, you should see how much faster they have to react when a Lesgroom shows up.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Won’t somebody think of the children, right DukeDog?

    There’s an easy way for the school board to avoid litigation — fire the teacher. Not only will that avoid litigation, it will actually save the school board money by having one less teacher to pay.

  • Synfandel

    @32 sigurd jorsalfar says,

    There’s an easy way for the school board to avoid litigation — fire the teacher.

    And there’s an easy way to avoid this kind of mess in the future: consign the totalitarian practice of the pledge of allegiance to the dust bin of history and get on with teaching.