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Florida sixth grader arrested at Lakeland school

A sixth grade student of Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, FL is facing misdemeanor charges after an incident that took place in the classroom on February 4th. The student is a black male who was under the supervision of a substitute teacher at the time.

The student chose not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, stating that he believes the flag and the national anthem are both racist. The substitute teacher engaged in an exchange of words with the young boy. She first asked him why he did not go to another place to live. Upon his response that "they brought me here," she suggested that he can always go back to where he came from. The situation escalated from there, with the student ultimately being removed from the classroom by a school resource officer from the Lakeland Police Department after he refused to leave voluntarily. Due to alleged threats made against the teacher by the child, he was subsequently charged with a misdemeanor.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has issued a statement advising that a student "does not lose their First Amendment rights" when they enter school grounds. The Polk County School District released a statement advising that students are, in fact, not required to recite the pledge or salute the flag. Allegedly, the substitute teacher was unaware of this rule.

The child's mother has asked that all charges against the boy be dropped, and that the school system be held accountable for its unjustified actions.

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