All across America, most students in public schools stand up in the morning with hands over their chest to recite the pledge of allegiance. After jogging to the school that morning, Ray Jones decided he would sit this one out. Jones’s teacher instructed him to stand up for the pledge but, according to Jones, after he refused to stand he was told to get out. In his eyes, the incident that happened over a month ago has made him the target of “bullying” by his teachers.
“He was tired, dripping with sweat, exhausted,” defended Jones’s mother, LaTonya Ellison. “He just, on that particular day, did not feel like standing up.”
According to the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, the rules are simple: Even if a student does not want to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance they are still required to stand up during the pledge unless the school has a note from parents stating that the practice of the pledge conflicts with their personal religious beliefs. Ellison did admit that she never wrote the school such a note.
Both mother and son actually didn’t have anything against the pledge and this was the first time that Jones refused to stand for it. According to Ellison the real problem is how the teachers have handled the situation. “Instead of being asked what was wrong, because that was totally out of character for him, it was assumed that he was being unpatriotic – and that is not what it was about at all,” Ellison told KHOU.
It was later revealed that school rules do allow for students to remain seated during the pledge as long as they do so quietly without disrupting others. With the conflict of different rulebooks and lack of any proof that teachers are singling out Jones, there isn’t much that the school district can do on the matter.
Ever since Ray sat out on the pledge other students have followed suit, giving the school a growing problem and no clear way on how to address the issue.