A Denver-area teacher is on paid administrative leave this week following reports she physically assaulted a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Karen Smith, a physical education teacher at Angevine Middle School, was placed on leave Thursday after authorities arrived at the school to investigate reports that an instructor had assaulted a student, CBS Denver reported. A letter sent to parents identified Smith as the teacher involved, but stopped short of detailing the “incident” that unfolded.
“… I’m reaching out to you tonight to let you know that we will have a substitute teacher working with some of our PE classes for the time being,” Principal Mike Medina wrote in the letter. “While I cannot share much information, following an incident today at school, [Ms.] Smith was placed on paid administrative leave … We believe in due process and therefore, ask that everyone respect Ms. Smith’s privacy at this time.”
A parent waiting to pick up her child from school Friday afternoon told CBS Denver her daughter was aware Smith is a “strict” teacher but has never had any problems with her. Other parents who caught wind of the incident argued the entire ordeal was being blown out of proportion.
So far, no charges have been filed.
Speaking with the Longmont Times-Call, Boulder Valley School District spokesman Randy Barber said it’s the district’s practice to allow students to either sit or stand for the pledge. He neither confirmed or denied Thursday’s incident, however. He noted that the district is currently working with the Lafayette Police Department to investigate the matter.
Officials with the BVSD didn’t respond to requests for comment.
This is not the first time a student exercising his/her right not to stand for the pledge has resulted in punishment — for the teachers at least. In July, an Indiana principal and school teacher were sued for forcing an 8-year-old child to recite the pledge.