Texas high school suspends student — for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance

posted at 7:31 pm on May 9, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Granted, I personally think the young man is being just a tad shortsighted in his reasoning for not wanting to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at this particular moment in time, but oh, well: That’s just my opinion, and that you cannot and should not be coerced into saying or doing things you don’t want to say or do is kind of the whole point. We already decided this back in 1943, and while the news report makes it sound like the administrators’ contention might be not that he didn’t recite but that he didn’t stand for the Pledge, that shouldn’t make a difference if he isn’t being otherwise disruptive, should it?

Mason Michalec, a sophomore at Needville High School, claims he’s taken a pledge not to say the Pledge.

“I’ve basically said it from the time I was in kindergarten to earlier this year and that’s when I decided I was done saying it,” he told KHOU.

The 15-year-old says he loves his country, but he doesn’t agree with how politicians are running it.

“I’m really tired of our government taking advantage of us,” said Michalec. “I don’t agree with the NSA spying on us. And I don’t agree with any of those Internet laws.”

But his attitude didn’t sit well with his Needville school. He stopped saying the pledge earlier this school year and hasn’t had a problem. But when announcements were moved to a different period on Wednesday, a new teacher spotted him sitting down during the recitation. He also sat down during the Texas Pledge, a special pledge that students in the state make to The Lone Star Flag. She was furious. …

When he refused to get up, he says the principal of his high school slammed him with two days of in-school suspension. The punishment came with a warning: continue sitting down and he’d get more suspension time.


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Meow. The kid is a future Paul supporter?

Bmore on May 10, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I find it informative that you demonize a student who respectfully follows his convictions which are constitutionally protected. Those students who have had family who fought for our country did so to defend our constitution. That same constitution that protects this student’s rights. Too bad some so-called conservatives cannot see that.

io on May 10, 2014 at 1:14 AM

This kid has no constitutional right to remain seated during the Pledge of Allegiance – or at any time when he has been directed to STAND by school authorities.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This kid has no constitutional right to remain seated during the Pledge of Allegiance – or at any time when he has been directed to STAND by school authorities.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

You don’t get it, do you, Pork-Chop? Forced allegiance is not allegiance.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM

“I pledge allegiance to the a** of the girl in front of me, and to the legs on which it stands, one sweet butt made by God, in Levis, with liberty and justice for all.”

Isn’t that the pledge most boys recite in high school? What’s this kid’s problem?

M240H on May 10, 2014 at 10:09 AM

This kid has no constitutional right to remain seated during the Pledge of Allegiance – or at any time when he has been directed to STAND by school authorities.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Well the school has no constitutional right to force children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance so there.

SoulGlo on May 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM

You don’t get it, do you, Pork-Chop? Forced allegiance is not allegiance.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM

I think it is YOU who does not “get it”. This child has no constitutional right to purposely disrupt class by refusing to stand when directed to – regardless of why he is directed to – it has nothing to do with ‘FORCING’ him to pledge allegiance.

What’s next – refusing to stand and evacuate the school during a fire? Refusing to be silent in class when told to do so? Refusing to do any school work? Seriously – Where does it end? Discipline and order must be maintained.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Discipline and order must be maintained.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

In an earlier era I might have agreed with you, but no longer. The rules have changed, in case you haven’t noticed. Schools are no longer centers of education and enlightenment but have become institutions of conformity and indoctrination.

They are no longer taught HOW to think, but WHAT to think.

In the current educational environment, “Discipline and order must be maintained” takes on a sinister, Orwellian, scent.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM

In an earlier era I might have agreed with you, but no longer. The rules have changed, in case you haven’t noticed. Schools are no longer centers of education and enlightenment but have become institutions of conformity and indoctrination.

They are no longer taught HOW to think, but WHAT to think.

In the current educational environment, “Discipline and order must be maintained” takes on a sinister, Orwellian, scent.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM

I’m not sure what any of this has to do with a boy refusing to stand when directed to. If all discipline and direction from school authorities is “Orwellian”, then what would you suggest? Should we simply do away with schools all together? Or do away with all rules and discipline and let children just do whatever they want all day in school?

This is a simple discipline problem – it has nothing to do with the school’s curriculum.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

This child has no constitutional right to purposely disrupt class by refusing to stand when directed to – regardless of why he is directed to – it has nothing to do with ‘FORCING’ him to pledge allegiance.

What’s next – refusing to stand and evacuate the school during a fire? Refusing to be silent in class when told to do so? Refusing to do any school work? Seriously – Where does it end? Discipline and order must be maintained.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Bingo.

Students aren’t forced to say the Pledge. In fact, the vast majority at my high school say nothing at all during the Pledge. However, they will stand and stay silent during the Pledge. My classroom will not be a platform for public protests. I’ve had one student in 20+ years have an issue with that. We came to a simple, elegant, mutually-agreed-upon solution. The student would stay out of class, seated, and return to class after the Pledge. SOLVED.

Those who have a problem with a teacher asking a kid to stand during the Pledge are the exact freaking reason we as teachers can’t get a thing done in class with their students (we say “students” to parents/guardians because of all the broken families. They may, or may not, be your kids, so ‘son/daughter’ no longer works). Question authority and conduct your protests on your own time. As long as I’m responsible for the education and safety of the kids in my room, they will listen to my reasonable directions (“Please be quiet. Take out your books. Take these notes. Write this essay. Head to the designated location for our fire drill.” Etc., etc.). YOUR KIDS are the ones who sit in my class, refusing to even take out a pencil or piece of paper, and saying things like “I HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE.” The look on their face as they’re taken out of my class for refusing to do any work or follow any directions is interesting. It’s a mixture of shock and anger, because they’ve been conditioned by their family to believe that they can do whatever the heck they want.

Nope. There’s the door. See ya! ———————> []

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM

This is a simple discipline problem – it has nothing to do with the school’s curriculum.
Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I don’t see it that way. That’s too simplistic. This isn’t a disciplinary problem; it’s a political one. In all other areas, this student IS compliant. It’s only in this area of political conformity that he has a problem.

I get your point. But in this case I applaud the action.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM

And if *I * were your student, I’d take the door. For two reasons. First, to express my political opinion, and secondly, to stick it in your eye.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM

I’LL say it. The principal is a fascist. Left or right, it doesn’t matter-the first amendment is a RIGHT, a God-given right, just as self-defense is a God-given RIGHT. The kid is free to not say the pledge of allegiance, just as he’s free to be a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, to wear a t-shirt with an American flag on it, to wear the “Tea Party” Ben Franklin “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, etc etc etc.

The principal and the teacher were out of line.

RockinRickOwen on May 9, 2014 at 7:40 PM

So I guess then that it’s ok with you if a student cuts class because he disagrees with his teacher? Or, if a student smokes weed on campus just because it’s legal in other states? Or if a student stands up and throws a chair at someone because of some perceived offensive statement? Where does it end?

Yes, the student has the right to not say the pledge. Fine. However, he doesn’t have the right to disrupt the learning environment.

I’m a public school junior high administrator in Texas. We don’t require that students say the pledge or the Texas Pledge. We do ask that they at least stand, out of respect for those who do choose participate. It’s just plain ole common courtesy.

It’s my standard policy to not do anything that will land me on the 6:00 news. Before I disagree with the principal’s consequence, it would be interesting to know the general behavior of this student prior to this incident. This could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. This could have been a student with a nice, long record of insubordination and a case where the administrator had plenty of documentation to pull the trigger on ISS. Did he cuss out the teacher when she told him to stand? Did he talk back to the principal? Did his behavior cause a classroom disruption? I don’t know. The article doesn’t make that clear. I don’t disagree with the directive that at least he stand out of respect. Students should be expected to follow general, societal, reasonable school rules. The rule to stand is not unreasonable.

pullingmyhairout on May 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

And if *I * were your student, I’d take the door. For two reasons. First, to express my political opinion, and secondly, to stick it in your eye.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM

It’s cute when a student behaving like you would somehow thinks that my getting you out of my classroom is upsetting to me. :D

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

pullingmyhairout on May 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

The article said he did this with a different teacher who didn’t mind. You are right that we don’t know the entire story, but there is nothing to say the boy was disruptive in school.

ladyingray on May 10, 2014 at 12:28 PM

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

You’ll excuse me, I’m sure, but you sound exactly like the kind of teacher who thinks the students are “his”.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Discipline and order must be maintained.

Pork-Chop on May 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Wow, that sure sounds central Europe, 1938.

But, truth be told, if the kid’s skin was a little darker and he spoke with a Spanish accent, what are the chances that he gets suspended?

Wallythedog on May 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM

What’s ridiculous is that refusing to stand is considered a discipline promise. That’s just a half assed way of forcing someone to honor the pledge.

To the teacher who insisted on evicting a kid from the classroom during the pledge – way to go. Show them that in your America standing up for constitutional rights means to be marginalized. Let them grow up to be good little democratic party drones afraid to go against what they “learn” in university or what politicians tell ‘em.

amalric on May 10, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Years ago, the father of one of my friends received an offer to work in the Bahamas for a year. (That was back before Bahamian independence.) At public events, it was a common practice to sing “God Save the Queen”. My friend thought it was amusing to demonstrate a lack of respect for the queen by remaining seated, or if standing, to keep his hat on and behave like a general a$$hole. When he was telling me about this after coming back to the States, he apparently thought I would find it amusing. I didn’t.

This young man’s conduct says far more about him and the people who raised him than it does about the Pledge, or the state of our nation.

oldleprechaun on May 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM

You’ll excuse me, I’m sure…

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

I will. There’s the door! —————> []

You sound just like the occasional indefatigable spirit whose entire purpose in school is to ‘take it to the man’ so he/she says ‘I’ll show them. Trying to make me do work and listen to directions. They’ll see. I won’t graduate!’

Well, you showed me, didn’t you? Who were you again?

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

As someone has correctly observed, forced allegiance is no allegiance anyway. Personally, I wouldn’t recite the pledge either. I came to this country late, and reciting the pledge is one thing that look very creepy to me. It’s simply mindless brainwashing. I would replace this pledge with 10 times as much time discussing the content of the pledge: what is freedom? why is it valuable? what is justice? how do we ensure all these things remain for future generations? I asked my 3 grader son what the pledge meant, and he couldn’t answer. I think it is a problem.

P.S. Before someone jumps at me, I have NEVER said anything bad about the pledge to my son, and I have never encouraged him not to participate. If it were me in the story, I would have gotten up but not say anything. Not standing up kinda sounds like a statement.

PBH on May 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Let them grow up to be good little democratic party drones afraid to go against what they “learn” in university or what politicians tell ‘em.

amalric on May 10, 2014 at 12:47 PM

The new breed of conservative: Requiring a student to stand during the Pledge will turn them into Democrat-voting automatons!

Not like the old breed of conservative. Not at all. No sir!

lol…you’ve come so far. You might almost call it progressive!

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 1:03 PM

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

You do an inordinate amount of unjustifiable extrapolation, you know that?

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM

You do an inordinate amount of unjustifiable extrapolation, you know that?

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM

I would disagree and discuss it with you, but you already left my room. You showed me! :D

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 1:22 PM

I pledge obeisance to the flag of the Captive States of Washington, and to the Democratic Party, for which it now stands; one vast, Leftist tyranny, under Obama, with surveillance for all, and special treatment for Party members.

Face it, folks. We beat the Soviets, but somewhere along the way, we lost the Cold War to the Communists.

Cation on May 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

The kid’s an anomaly. Not only is he politically aware of what’s going on at the highest levels of government, making him different from the vast numbers of his contemporaries, he’s also willing to do something about it and take the consequences, making him an autonomous individual.

Let’s hope they don’t Winston him before he reaches his stride.

Cleombrotus on May 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM

We said the Pledge of Allegiance, The Lords prayer and rise
the American flag every day in elementary school and much of junior high. Not sure when we stopped, that was in Ct in the fifties and sixties.

The kids another candidate for bending over a knee and spanking the stupid out.

Texyank on May 10, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Face it, folks. We beat the Soviets, but somewhere along the way, we lost the Cold War to the Communists.

Cation on May 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

I’m trying to imagine The Greatest Generation (WWII) saying something similar.

‘Face it, folks. We beat the Nazis and Japanese, but forcing kids to stand during the Pledge (not recite it, mind you…to STAND) shows we actually lost to the fascists.’

Yup. That’s the grandparents (a fighter pilot and bomber pilot in the Pacific, respectively). Standing for the Pledge is just proof of our lapse in fascism/communism!

You’ve come a long way, conservatives! [facepalm]

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 2:12 PM

I say fine. If he doesn’t want to at least STAND to show a little respect, and if this is an act of protest then shut up, take the punishment and stop whining about how bad they’re treating him. Actions have consequences. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

eclark1849 on May 10, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Do the crime? There was no crime here.

Everyone’s preoccupation with the sitting being disrespectful is puzzling. Part of the pledge of allegiance is standing before the flag. You stand, you recite the pledge. If it wasn’t, pledging would just as often be done sitting as standing. But we know that is not the case. Unless you are handicapped, the pledge is uniformly recited in the standing position.

Standing before the flag is part of the allegiance oath, and he is avoiding that.

And everyone is saying he was doing it for attention. Yet he was doing it for some time with no one apparently taking much note of it at all. It was only when some teacher got his/her panties in a bunch over political nonconformity that it became an issue.

io on May 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Everyone’s preoccupation with the sitting being disrespectful is puzzling.

io on May 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Puzzle no longer! Visit with members of one of the following veterans’ organizations and sit while they stand for the Pledge. Let us know what they think!

Air Force Association
Air Force Sergeants Association
American Ex-Prisoners of War
American G.I. Forum
American Legion
American Veterans for Equal Rights
AMVETS
Aztec Club of 1847
Blinded Veterans Association
Catholic War Veterans
Disabled American Veterans
Fleet Reserve Association
The Greatest Generations Foundation
Healing Heroes Network
HeroBox
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America or IAVA (formerly OpTruth)
Iraq War Veterans Organization
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Marine Corps League
Military Officers Association of America
Military Order of the Carabao
Military Order of Foreign Wars
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Navy League of the United States
National Association for Black Veterans
National Gulf War Resource Center
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
New Battlefront Foundation
Operation Sacred Trust
Operation Stand Down
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association
Retired Enlisted Association (TREA)
Society of the Cincinnati
Student Veterans of America
United Service Organizations
United States Submarine Veterans Inc. (USSVI)
United States Submarine Veterans of World War II
Veterans Advantage
Veterans for America
Veterans for Peace
Veterans History Project
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans Union
VETPAC
Vietnamese American Armed Forces Association
Vietnam Veterans of America
Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Wounded Warrior Project

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Thank you for reinforcing my point for me. They all stand as an integral part of pledging allegiance.

If this student, as is his constitutionally protected right, does not wish to take the pledge, then not standing while it is being recited is part of his refusal.

Also, this student has said he loves his country. He can respect the flag, the military and its veterans while personally not pledging his allegiance to it.

io on May 10, 2014 at 4:56 PM

I only wish the schools would show this much zeal about making sure kids are getting our money’s worth out of their time.

KMC1 on May 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

“making sure”…really?

“Make sure” they study?
“Make sure” they do their homework?
“Make sure” they don’t disrupt class?
“Make sure” they don’t steal?
“Make sure” they don’t cuss out their teachers and administrators?
“Make sure” they don’t start fights?
“Make sure” they don’t bring drugs, alcohol and weapons to school?
“Make sure” they don’t make out in the hallways?
“Make sure” they aren’t tardy to class?
“Make sure” they actually show up to school?
“Make sure” they don’t use their cell phones during class?
“Make sure” they don’t vandalize school board property?
“Make sure” they dress appropriately?
“Make sure” they don’t cheat on tests or copy their homework from someone else?
“Make sure” they learn how to read?
“Make sure” they learn their times tables?

Apparently saying the Pledge is a bone of contention, and it would seem that having to do that is Socialism now, but they need to do everything else because we’re Taxpayers, dammit, and these stupid school teachers need to get with the program! Oh, and those damn unions…but, whatever you do, don’t require the kids to follow the rules because that’s Fascism.

LMAO

Hoo boy…I give this country maybe ten more years.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 5:12 PM

If this student, as is his constitutionally protected right…

io on May 10, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Bzzzt, wrong. SCOTUS has not ruled you have a constitutionally protected right to sit during the Pledge. They have ruled you cannot be forced to recite it.

Try again, and puzzle no longer as to the disruptive and disrespectful intent of sitting during the Pledge by making a simple visit to one of the aforementioned groups!

Let them know you see forced-standing during the Pledge as a communist victory and a Democrat-inspired voter drive while you’re at it, lol.

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 5:15 PM

…but, whatever you do, don’t require the kids to follow the rules because that’s Fascism.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Sad but true, apparently! Trying to enforce basic rules at school has become nigh impossible, as you can see from the amazing amount of supposedly conservative opposition to any school official daring to require a child to STAND (mute is fine!) during the Pledge.

I look at this thread in amazement. Want to know what the problem is with the public schools? Certainly unions are a problem, but only in union states (not mine!). Look no further than the public part of that equation. Zero tolerance policies come from the incredible amount of STUPID responses schools get from the public related to even the most simple of disciplinary decisions. You have to have a zero-tolerance policy, with no room for any variation, or you get…

…this thread, lol.

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

But this kid is not going to one of those places and then refusing to pledge his allegiance. He is sitting in public school where, if his parents can’t homeschool him or can’t afford private school, he is compelled by law to attend.

That you can’t see the difference shows a lack of critical thinking skills.

io on May 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Yes, they should stand and be silent if they won’t say it. Had a classmate back in elementary school who never said…apparently a Jehovah’s Witness family. Still irks me, but…

io on May 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

He has another option…quit school. Oh that’s right, we have those Fascist laws (probably started by teachers unions) that require kids to go to school and hopefully learn something so that we aren’t (again, hopefully) in the same league as Zimbabwe.

So I gather what you’re saying is, they have to show up (not that many bother) but don’t have to do what they’re expected to do while there?

According to this philosophy, why don’t you hire this kid (or one like him) and he can sit there all day while you pay him for doing nothing.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM

That you can’t see the difference shows a lack of critical thinking skills.

io on May 10, 2014 at 5:22 PM

That you would defend his ‘right’ to disobey school personnel on something as fundamentally simple as STANDING UP at the right time (public school: You have to move with the bell schedule, sit at your desk when required, sit at assembly, stop talking during tests, etc., etc.. Tough expectations, I know! /s) shows how infected the conservative brain has become with progressive bacteria. His family should remind him that he’s in school to get an education, not to force his teachers to play whack-a-mole with unnecessary and stupid behaviors that draw negative attention.

If he wants to make a brave ‘stance’ on standing during the Pledge, I would say he should visit as many veterans’ Memorial Day observances as possible, sitting during the Pledge at each. Let’s see what true conservative patriots think of his conscientious objections. I’m sure they’ll be supportive. /s

The whole issue is a farce. Public school is for academic LEARNING, not a platform for your protests. You have other options, including private school and homeschooling. When you send your kid to the public school system, you cede a lot of influence and control to them. In many (blue) states, I would say you are making a GRAVE error to do that. In my conservative state, not so much. Choose wisely.

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Hoo boy…I give this country maybe ten more years.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Nice to see an optimist on the board. ; )

Bmore on May 10, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Seems like a simple case of a boy learning about the blessings of state-compelled conduct. Says a lot that so-called conservatives actually support the state in this case.

NorthernCross on May 10, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Hoo boy…I give this country maybe ten more years.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Nice to see an optimist on the board. ; )

Bmore on May 10, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Sure, Bmore…the Socialists in government are going to magically disappear, the Debt will go down to zero all by itself, huge corporations and banks will quit stealing from the American people (and others around the world)…

Optimism based upon real possibilities is great…optimism based upon nothing but wishes is denial.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Guess the school needs a lawsuit to remind them of the First Amendment.

earlgrey on May 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Public school is for academic LEARNING, not a platform for your protests.

xNavigator on May 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Reciting the pledge and standing have nothing to do with learning, and everything to do with propaganda and indoctrination.

earlgrey on May 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM

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