FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) - An 11-year-old boy says his decision not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at school got him roughed up by a teacher and lectured by another. Now both are facing disciplinary action for their actions.
Stone Chaney, 11, says he's been choosing to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance since 2nd grade. He said people have asked him in the past about hsi decision not to stand but has never had an issue - until now.
"A teacher just comes up, puts her arms under my armpits and snatches me out of my chair. I say I don't stand for the pledge, she just glares at me and walks away," Stone said. "I just feel like my rights were violated. And she was the teacher consultant; the person who teaches other people not to put their hands on students. So who knows what other teachers she's taught her way of thinking."
The rough start to his first year at East Middle School got even worse when he says he returned the next morning to a substitute teacher driving the point home and ordering him to stand. She also told him he would need a special note to be allowed to sit.
"God said don't worship anything other than me, don't worship any idols, and pledging to a flag would kind of be like worshiping it," he said. "It's not if I have a reason or not, it's my right."
His parents demanded action at a school board meeting, now both teachers have been placed on administrative leave.
His mother, Phillina Mullin, said the teacher should not have put her hands on Stone.
"One of the main issues we're having a problem with is the fact that an adult felt the need to put their hands on my child,
"Very proud of my son. He's a national hero right now," Brian Chaney, his father, said.
FOX 2 reached out to Farmington schools for a comment. The superintendent said it supports the rights of all students with this statement:
Farmington Public Schools offers every student the opportunity each day to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. The District fully supports the right of each student to participate or not in the daily Pledge.
In this particular instance, school leaders began their investigation as soon as they were made aware of the situation, which was the day before the most recent Board meeting. The teacher allegedly involved in the incident has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.
At Farmington Public Schools, we expect every child and adult in our district to be treated with dignity and respect. At this time, the District cannot speculate about the outcome of the pending investigation.
We assure our parents and families that when any situation like this occurs, we remain committed to providing an education of excellence to every student.
-Dr. George C. Heitsch
Farmington Public Schools
Although the family is encouraged by the district's recent action, they're focusing now on the bigger picture.
"I have three younger brothers and hope it never happens to them, nobody in East (middle school). Nobody in Michigan, nobody all over the country," Stone said.
Stone is getting national attention for this, doing interviews all day long, and getting attention on social media. He's hoping now to get the attention of Colin Kaepernick. He will likely not be returning to the school.
The school district is expecting to release another statement tomorrow.