Protest abruptly ended in classroom Pledge of Allegiance moment

All the usual elements are there in the latest twist in the ongoing debate in this country over protest and expression.

There’s the kid who sits during the Pledge of Allegiance, the one who stands while wearing an American flag T-shirt, the assumption of authority to teach a little respect, as the person who posted the video from Winter Mills High School in Westminster, Md., characterized it.

The student taking the matter into his own hands wrote on Instagram:

Some people don’t understand how disrespectful it is to sit during the pledge or national anthem and deserves to get there ass kicked More of y’all need (stand up) to these jackasses that sit during the pledge.if you have an issue with what I did today talk to me about it not your little buddy’s behind my back. #standthef***up #america #dumbass #hedeservedmore #bitch”

He was “disciplined,” the Carroll County Times reports, although school officials, citing privacy rules, didn’t say how.

They said, however, that students at the school are never required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

None of the students involved is being publicly identified, although the newspaper reports the kid in the chair issued a statement on a social media account.

“I was practicing my right to free speech, a right given to me by the soldiers that I do respect, unlike what he says. I simply will not stand and pledge allegiance to a country that is run by a racist, sexist, bigoted, fascist. I will not stand for a country who mistreats those who aren’t white and rich.

Forced patriotism is fascism, and nothing less. So I invite all to join me tomorrow, and #sitthef***down if you believe that free speech is a fundamental right of the people, and that it should be protected,” he posted.

It’s not a situation in which anybody is going to do much more than stand in the corner they were already in, but the Carroll County Times ran an editorial this week anyway that most certainly will fall on deaf ears.

Comments on our own Facebook page, from Carroll County residents, included: “Making Winters Mill alumni proud,” “Give that kid a medal” and “the student who was sitting deserved it.”

The ones on Instagram, reddit and fringe websites where the video appeared were far worse, filled with disgusting, hateful language and rhetoric.

Quite frankly, it’s repulsive that grown men and women would condone and even encourage this sort of violence and bullying among young people.

It’s a sad side-effect of the state of our country where our president himself has condoned violent behavior against people who take issue with him and his supporters. And no, this isn’t to say the right is fully to blame. There are no shortage of examples where protesters on the left have incited violence too.

We’ve created an environment where free speech and peaceful protests are under attack from both sides and, for whatever reason, we’ve decided that violent acts and vile discourse is the only way to get through to people on the other side.

Guess what? It isn’t working and is just causing those with opposing views to dig in their heels and take more extreme positions. Until we can begin to decry unnecessary acts of violence, especially those that may support causes we believe in ourselves, things will only get worse.

(h/t: Mike Worcester)

  • What an appalling display of authoritarian bullying. Sadly, it is encouraged by what we hear daily out of the WH. #AlertTheDayCareStaff

  • wjc

    I’m at a loss. The concept of respectful dialogue is as dead as a doornail, it seems, except for a small number of extraordinary places. Why has what should be ordinary become so extraordinary?

    • Jack

      I consider Newscut to be one of those extraordinary places.

      • wjc

        I would agree.

      • TBH

        I would agree with that. I’m generally more of an observer on these boards than anything, but I’ve seen a lot more people with the skill and ability to “disagree effectively” here than many other local comment boards. It is a skill that seems to be lacking these days.

  • Jerry

    It can happen here

  • NathanT

    This isn’t bullying — it’s assault.

    • Mike Worcester

      I’m trying to pin down a valid source on this but one of the comments being passed around is that school officials are stating since the incident did not result in bodily injury it cannot be considered “assault”. (I would call b.s. on that but I’m not a legal beagle either.)

  • RBHolb

    It’s bad enough that this happened. What makes it worse are the people applauding the kid who kicked the chair. I presume some of them claim to be adults. The thought that there are supposedly responsible people who condone–no, applaud–this kind of thing is disgraceful.

    • Jerry

      There are a lot of people who find fascism appealing

    • Kassie

      No different than the liberals I see applauding punching Nazis in the face in my opinion.

      • RBHolb

        Okay, so the inevitable “both sides do it” has been raised.

        Punching is wrong in most circumstances, yes, it’s terrible when people come up to white supremacists and punch them in the face, no, I am not smirking as I type this. It’s an unreservedly bad thing.

        Let’s move on.

  • Guest

    I don’t agree with you, so I am entitled to be violent against you and use coarse language……sigh 🙁

  • Postal Customer

    You’re a boiling frog if you think fascism isn’t arrived.

  • AmiSchwab

    and where are the kids learning their “manners”?

    • NathanT

      the president?

      • Jack

        I hope not.

        • jon

          When 44% of evangelicals say that a man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women, openly mocked the disabled, and spends a fair amount of his time lieing can say that he has “strong moral character” hope seems a bit misplaced.

          Article (and poll) is a year old, from before we got to hear that nazi’s and anti-nazis are both bad people, and watch as trump helps people in florida and texas, and doesn’t help people in PR…

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/10/44-of-white-evangelicals-claim-trump-has-strong-moral-character/

          We live in a society where a significant portion of the country believes that might makes right, because it is increasingly the only path they have to being right…
          And the “moral right” is falling into line supporting the notion, because the pundits keep pointing out how the christian right helped deliver the presidency, thus they are mighty, and thus right also!

          So maybe not from the president… but probably from the people who have done the mental gymnastics to be able to support some one who is, by all of their own measures, a terrible human being.

  • AL287

    I taught in the Carroll County Public schools for two years when I was attending graduate school at Towson University back in the mid 2000’s.

    This is a school district that confiscated cell phones if they rang or chimed during the school day. An administrator was called in and a search was conducted until the offensive phone was located. A parent had to come to the school to retrieve the phone.

    Students could have their cell phones but they had to be in their lockers until the end of the school day. The vending machines were also locked and inoperative until the dismissal bell rang at the end of the school day.

    Brilliant.

    I’m sure it is very different a decade later but it was heaven when I was substitute teaching there.

    I don’t remember there being issues about standing for the pledge of allegiance but the way things are headed these days, I’m not surprised.

    I’m reminded of that poster “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”