Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hernando teacher suspended after requiring fourth-grader to participate in Pledge of Allegiance

5

November

SPRING HILL — The fourth-grader at Explorer K-8 School stood silently on Sept. 11, hands by his side, as his classmates recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

A Jehovah’s Witness forbidden from worshiping objects, the boy’s behavior was not unusual. He had never joined his peers in the ritual of placing his right hand on his heart. He had never spoken the words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands ... .”

But that morning was different.

As the students recited, teacher Anne Daigle-McDonald took the boy’s the wrist and placed his hand over his heart. He protested, pulling his arm down, and reminded her he was a Jehovah’s Witness.

“You are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag,” Daigle-McDonald said, according to a statement the boy gave to a school administrator.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 1:16pm]

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