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South Carolina Teacher Tells Black Student to ‘Go Back to Africa’ After He Refused to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

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Battery Creek High School

A Beaufort, South Carolina mother is furious after a Battery High School science teacher made racist remarks to her son when he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, The State newspaper reports.

Nicole Whitmore said her 14-year-old son, a freshman at the high school, remained seated along with many other students in the class during the morning pledge when their teacher requested that they stand up. Whitmore’s son reportedly commented to a friend that it didn’t matter if they stood or not because “Donald Trump is going to send us back to Africa.” It was then that the teacher allegedly said he should go back, according to The State.

School spokesman Jim Foster declined to name the teacher involved or provide more details but says school administrators and the Beaufort County School District are investigating the matter. Foster also said the complaint filed by Whitman has caused the district to remind teachers that students are allowed to remain seated during the pledge. Per The State, South Carolina State laws only require schools to make time for the pledge, but students have the option to stay seated, leave the classroom, or show their non-participation in any way that doesn’t disrupt other students or school activities.

The 1943 Supreme Court Case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, ruled that the U.S. constitution protects students who don’t want to acknowledge the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school, the Daily Caller reports. That case involved a student who was a Jehovah’s Witness.

Whitmore is still upset about the teacher’s comment and is looking forward to updates in the district’s investigation.

“I didn’t take kindly to it, and my son didn’t take kindly to it,” she said. “… You don’t tell my son to go back to Africa knowing you’re a different color than he is. I’m Puerto Rican and Black, I know what I went through. I don’t want my son going through anything discriminative.”

The State reports that Whitmore’s son hasn’t stood for the Pledge of Allegiance since seventh grade and gets upset with the racially charged stories he sees in the news, like the flying of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the bigoted comments made by presidential candidate Donald Trump concerning African-Americans and Mexicans. At rallies for the Republican candidate in Chicago and Cleveland, Trump supporters were heard yelling racial epithets like “Go back to Africa.”

Kyanna Jenkins, a sophomore at Radford University in Virginia where Trump held a rally last month, recalls a moment when another protester on the opposite side of the venue stood up to voice her opinions to Trump.

“Trump called her out, asking if she was Mexican,” Jenkins told Red Alert Politics. [He] then told security to, ‘get her out of here,’ and…that is when the protesters I came with had had enough.”

Jenkins also said a group of Trump supporters told her and the group of protesters she came with to “Go back to Africa” as they were being escorted out of the building.

Whitmore is also upset with the school because her son was forced to spend his first period class in the school’s media center on Wednesday, according to The State. Under the district’s code of conduct, in-school suspensions may be enforced for minor infringements like disrespecting a teacher. Whitman feels that the teacher should be punished, not her son.

“A teacher should never stoop to a child’s level,” she said. “My son is 14 years old, a freshman at Battery Creek. This teacher is supposed to be an educator. He’s supposed to teach him better.”

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