Florida Teacher Suspended Five Days For Forcing Fourth Grader to Recite Pledge of Allegiance: "If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country”

"restrictions apply"USAG-Humphries/Foter.comAnne Daigle-McDonald, a middle school teacher in Spring Hill, Florida, was suspended for five days, without pay, for trying to physically force a fourth grade Jehovah’s Witness to recite the pledge of allegiance on September 11. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is against their faith to pledge allegiance to temporal powers, or the objects that represent them, and the child had never recited the pledge of allegiance in class before. Nevertheless, on 9/11 Daigle-McDonald apparently wanted to teach him what America means. Via the Tampa Bay Times:

As the students recited, teacher Anne Daigle-McDonald took the boy's wrist and placed his hand over his heart. He protested, pulling his arm down, and reminded her he was a Jehovah's Witness.

"You are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag," Daigle-McDonald said, according to a statement the boy gave to a school administrator.

The next day, Daigle-McDonald again placed the boy's hand over his heart.

She then addressed the class.

"In my classroom, everyone will do the pledge; no religion says that you can't do the pledge," several students told a school administrator, according to a report. "If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."

The fourth-grader, of course, likely knows a lot more about his own religion than his teacher does.

A 2005 DOJ memo on the constitutionality of the Postal Service’s oath of office does explain the government’s belief that a requirement to “affirm” (but not “swear”) an oath to the Constitution does not violate religious belief, largely because it “requires only that a person abide by the nation’s constitutional system of government and its laws.”

Daigle-McDonald, who sounds like an ignoramus, was probably not referring to this, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in fact, were among the first Americans to object to “the contradiction inherent in a compulsory oath lauding individual liberty,” as Greg Beato wrote for Reason in 2010. The Jehovah’s Witnesses efforts against the mandatory pledge culminated in a 1940 Supreme Court decision, Minersville v. Gobitis, that ruled schools could force Jehovah’s Witnesses to recite the pledge. The decision, Beato notes, was followed by tar and featherings, public beatings, and even the castration of one Jehovah’s Witness in Nebraska. The plainly wrong decision was overturned by the Supreme Court just three years later.

Today, young children are largely free to decline to pledge allegiance to the flag, except when, for example, they’re being bullied by their teachers. Now, the fight over the pledge of allegiance is over the inclusion of the phrase “under God,” added in the 1950s. Ronald Bailey wrote about the recent skirmishes in that battle, and how it squares with a statute-mandated “voluntary” pledge in the first place, which you can read here, and read Greg Beato’s “Face the Flag” on the history of the pledge of allegiance, penned by a Christian Socialist who believed in forcible wealth redistribution, here.

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  • Tim||

    "If you like your freedom of religion, you can keep it."

  • Rasilio||

    It's not even freedom of religion, it is a basic freedom of speech issue.

    The choice of whether to or not to recite the pledge is in and of itself an important political statement

  • Zeb||

    Indeed. It should never get to the point of having to consider religious beliefs. Forcing anyone to say it is wrong.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It is exactly freedom of religion.

    Free exercise is just as important as freedom from establishment--no matter that the ACLU and friends emphasize one over the other.

    I bet if we took a poll, most Americans wouldn't recognize free exercise as a right. They'd only recognize the freedom from establishment as a principle.

    I'm guessing that's why so many people think forcing religious people to do things against their religious convictions is okay.

  • Zeb||

    I agree that it is also a religious freedom issue. But I think that speech is the more fundamental right here. I also don't like religious freedom arguments as much (though I am completely for freedom of religion, of course) because practically they tend to end up with special privileges for religious practice. If a religious person should be free to do something (or not) because of their religion, then anyone else must also have that right. Essentially, I think that freedom of religion should be a non-issue. Religious freedom is a subset of general freedom. If it is wrong to force people to say the pledge if they have a religious objection, then it is wrong to make anyone say it if they have any objection of any kind.

  • Anomalous||

    It's both freedom of speech (compelled speech can't be free speech), and free exercise of religion. This false patriot teacher is reprehensible.

  • Paul.||

    Witnesses believe it is against their faith to pledge allegiance to temporal powers

    Hmm. This will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    I imagine you'll get your freepers and Rush Limbaugh branch all behind the teacher.

    But the progs are swinging hard in this direction, too. It's all about calling for people who disagree with the government "treasonous" and what not.

    Two rabidly patriotic groups, but for different things.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I bet Limbaugh comes out against the teacher.

  • ||

    I bet his angle is that the teacher's suspension was so short.

  • Paul.||

    “requires only that a person abide by the nation’s constitutional system of government and its laws.”

    Can we get politicians to swear... erh, affirm this oath?

  • Andrew S.||

    Martin told her that nearly all of the students who were interviewed indicated that, on Sept. 12, the day after the first incident, she told the class that those who didn't want to say the pledge should move back to their home country.

    "But that's not what I said," Daigle-McDonald responded. "It was directed at citizenship. I was talking about pledging allegiance to our country, and if you don't want to pledge to our country, you should go to your home country."

    So you didn't say it, but you said it? I'm confused.

  • ||

    Does this bitch even understand that probably all of those kids home country IS fucking America?

  • cavalier973||

    The idiot teacher probably is ignorant of the fact that the pledge was written and promoted by progressives/socialists. Anyone who tries to force a child to recite a socialist pledge needs to leave the country posthaste, says I.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The idiot teacher probably is ignorant of the fact that the pledge was written and promoted by progressives/socialists

    Possibly, but I imagine that knowledge would not likely change her attitude toward mandating the pledge.

  • Zeb||

    And I really don't care who wrote it or why. No one should have to say it if George Washington (or your favorite American political figure) wrote it. And no one should have to pledge allegiance to anything in a supposedly free country.

  • DK||

    At least we now know how to get a teacher suspended. I wonder if it works for cops?

  • Troy muy grande boner||

    You are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag," Daigle-McDonald said,

    I understand this is probably quadruple hearsay but I can imagine this person saying such a thing.

  • ||

    I get the feeling that Florida does this crap just for the attention. Perhaps if we ignored the whole state for a few years it would stop acting like this.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Reason #148 to home school.

    P.S. Progressives don't see anything wrong with public schools violating a child's free exercise rights--that's another reason why progressives are America's most horrible people.

  • Hugh Akston||

    How do you think conservatives would react to this story? Do you think they would side with the kid and his terrorist-coddling anti-american "freedumbs"?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The social conservatives won't react to it in that way, but it's interesting how social conservatives and progressives end up violating our rights from different angles.

    I think there are social conservatives who are against the government forcing children to violate their own religious beliefs.

    ...that's one of the important reasons why they don't want doctors giving their children abortions without their parents' knowledge.

    That's one of the reasons why some of them want their children to learn about intelligent design in public schools--because they think the government is teaching their children things that are against their religion.

    But progressives have no principle that makes them reluctant to violate a child's (or parent's) religious convictions. I've read more than one argue that parents shouldn't be allowed to indoctrinate their children into any religious system.

  • ||

    The next day, Daigle-McDonald again placed the boy's hand over his heart…"If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."

    If you can’t take your husband’s name without a hyphen, then you shouldn’t get married.

    /tradition

  • Hopfiend||

    well played sir/ma'am.

  • Zeb||

    It does provide a valuable lesson to the students, though. Authority figures can be wrong and stupid and you don't always have to do what they tell you. And since she was actually punished, the kids in her class will see that.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Loyalty oath seem quite fitting in today's all-knowing police state.

    I know, I know. Calling the U.S. a police state or comparing it to authoritarian states of the past is wholly unfair because the U.S. doesn't have the requisite concentration camps or gulag (never mind that we incarcerate more of our population than any other nation on the planet).

  • Troy muy grande boner||

    Prisons are concentration camps. And I would argue that our police state is more Huxleyian than Orwellian.

  • Homple||

    Don't forget the WWII Japanese internment and the lesser known similar treatment of Germans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....internment

    We've done it in the past, we'll do something like it again under the right conditions. We've got surveillance capabilities that the STASI or KGB couldn't ever get intoxicated enough to dream of. We need only to identify the next group deserving formally authorized mass persecution.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."

    E PLURIBUS UNUM*

    *No Longer Applicable

  • Anomalous||

    From Wikipedia:

    Swearing of the Pledge is accompanied by a salute. An early version of the salute, adopted in 1892, was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up.

    You know who else saluted with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Mitt Romney?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Dr. Strangelove?

  • Anomalous||

    We have a winner!

  • creech||

    The Boy and Girl Scouts?

  • Rich||

    If you can't sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' on key, then you need to move out of the country.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    The pledge is the ultimate combination of Progressive Era and Cold War mentalities that a) we are the property of the state and b) we should indoctrinate our children at the earliest possible age, the easier to indoctrinate them later when it comes time for military conscription.

  • JidaKida||

    Stupid stuff like this is why kids are where they are today. So so sad!

    www.PrivacyRoad.tk

  • Rich||

    What -- no misspellings?

    Who are you and what have you done with the *real* JidaKida?

  • ||

    For that matter, where is s/he keeping WomSom? TondoJondo? Or MappRapp??

    Tonight, light a candle for LardoSardo.

  • croaker||

    Five days? That's it? Where are the criminal charges?

  • Christophe||

    Don't worry, they'll find something to charge the kid with soon enough.

  • CATT||

    This teacher is a bully and dead wrong in every way with what she has done. She should be prosecuted for intimidating one of her students and breaking the law which was established in the mid 1940's. She definitely needs to be made an example of, as well as the school administrator (principal)?

  • CATT||

    This teacher in her ignorance has also made a hypocrite of herself. As Jehovah's Witnesses we regard the Kingdom of God as the rightful government of our citizenship and that is why we would never cross the line and pledge to any human government. That would be TREASON, of which I'm sure this teacher would never commit, herself, and yet she would demand it of another. Shame on her!

  • Mensan||

    It's sad that this is the kind of story that we get out of my hometown. However, it should be noted that in this case the dumbass public school teacher actually got punished for her behavior. Are we all missing that the school admins actually did the right thing for once?

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