Two students at a Georgia elementary school say that they have been bullied because they stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
10-year-old Jason Newberry told WGCL that he and another boy in his class at Orrs Elementary School were called names all day after they stood for the morning pledge.
“Nobody put their hand over their heart except for me and one other little boy and we said the Pledge of Allegiance,” Jason said. “Me and him got called KKK, Nazi, and we just kept getting bullied the whole day.”
Jason said he didn’t realize there was any controversy over standing for the flag until his second period teacher showed them news clips about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
That same teacher then handed out a poll, asking her students if they thought taking a knee was right or wrong.
“Teacher said that she’ll never stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and if she did stand for the Pledge of Allegiance then she wouldn’t really mean it,” Jason told WGCL.
A spokesperson for the school district told WGCL that the assignment was supposed to teach the students about First Amendment Rights. They declined to say if the teacher faced any discipline for her comments.
The next day a letter was sent home with students with a statement from the teacher.
“I apologize for expressing my views to my students. I recognize that while this was not a one-sided lesson, the topic itself and the expression of my views were not appropriate, my intentions were well-meaning,” she wrote.
In the letter, the school’s principal, Evelyn Jones, said all students can choose whether to stand or sit during the Pledge of Allegiance.
“All students have the right to stand or not stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They have the right to choose their response to the pledge without ridicule at school and without influence by any staff member,” Jones wrote.
Jason’s mother Lisa Newberry expressed her disgust for the teacher’s actions, telling WGCL, “these are our kids, we should be able to instill our values on them, not her.”
The day after the letter was sent home, Orrs Elementary School replaced its old American flag with a new one.
That morning, under the new flag, Jason and a few other students recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
“You know, one or two people did start showing up, he was very excited,” Lisa told WGCL. “Like ‘yay I did it.'”