A Texas student was suspended for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mason Michalec, age 15, said he was staging a silent protest against the United States government. Although his behavior was tolerated throughout the school year, he was eventually reported to the principal by a new teacher.
According to Mason, the teacher demanded that he stand during the Pledge. When he refused, she said "this is my classroom... you're going to stand." As he did not follow her instructions, he was sent to the principal's office.
Mason said he was punished with an in school suspension, which lasted two days. The teen was permitted to report to school during the suspension. However, he was not allowed to attend class. The principal reportedly warned the teen against future protest, as he will face more severe punishment.
Although he is annoyed, Mason said he is willing to accept the punishment. As reported by CBS News, the teen said he is "frustrated and angry" that he was suspended for something he had "the right to do."
Mason explains why he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance:
"I'm really tired of our government taking advantage of us... I don't agree with the NSA spying on us. And I don't agree with any of those Internet laws."As reported by Fox News, local war veteran Dean Reese supports Mason's decision. He believes the teen has a right to stage a peaceful protest:
"The kid's well-spoken and he's well-informed... It's not like he's ignorant, he's not doing it to make people mad. He's doing it because of his personal beliefs."In contrast, resident Jo Castillo believes the teen's behavior was disrespectful:
"The soldiers are out there, they're doing their job and he should stand up... You've got a lot of things here that a lot of people don't have, that's respect, that's freedom."The incident has gained nationwide attention, as the subject is highly controversial. Mason's supporters believe the school violated his rights. As his protest was silent, and did not cause a disturbance, many argue that the punishment was unnecessarily harsh.
Those who oppose the teen's behavior argue that refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance is the ultimate sign of disrespect toward veterans and our country.
Although he was punished with suspension, Mason said he will continue his silent protest by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
[Image via Shutterstock and News92]