Karen Smith is in some hot water after the middle school teacher allegedly assaulted a student who refused to stand during the school’s Pledge of Allegiance. Her story is generating nationwide interest and renewed debate over the proper reverence for the American flag.
The incident happened in Colorado’s Boulder Valley School this week, with police receiving a call that a teacher had assaulted a student. As the Denver Post reported, police investigated the incident and Smith, who has been a teacher in the district for 20 years, has been put on leave.
As the Times Call reported, the school sent a letter to parents informing them that a substitute would be taking over while Karen Smith was on leave.
The strange incident drew attention from news outlets across the country, with many sharing their thoughts on Twitter. Many called for Karen Smith to be fired, and there were some upset that she would be allowed to remain on paid leave during the police investigation. Others were more sensitive to the teacher’s concerns, even if they did not agree with the drastic measure she took, saying that there is an increasing disrespect for the American flag.
The incident comes amid a growing national controversy over standing during the national anthem. Last year, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the anthem as a protest against police brutality against minorities, a demonstration that spread around the NFL.
This season, dozens of players joined the protest in solidarity after President Donald Trump slammed the protesting players and called on owners to fire those who would not stand during the anthem.
But there is nothing keeping students in Karen Smith’s classroom from sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance. As the Denver Post noted, the Boulder Valley School District actually gives students the option to either stand or remain seated during the pledge.
There were still plenty of unanswered questions about the teacher who allegedly assaulted a student who would not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. It was not known if the student was protesting the pledge, or if they were remaining seated for some other reason. The reports did not note what led up to this alleged assault, or whether there were other contributing factors. It is also not yet clear what charges teacher Karen Smith could end up facing.