In a further sign of the violent right-wing fascism that’s been sweeping the nation in recent times, a junior high schoolteacher in Farmington Hills, Michigan has been accused of violently assaulting an 11 year-old student for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. Apparently the teacher became so enraged by sixth grader Stone Chaney’s decision not to blindly pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth – one that represents genocide of Indigenous peoples and the enslavement, incarceration and bombing of others – that the homeroom teacher violently snatched the young man from his seat in an attempt to force him into submission. Chaney was undeterred and the teacher has been placed on temporary administrative detention.
According to Stone Chaney, “I don’t pledge to a flag. I pledge to God and family.” This didn’t stop him from being harassed and bullied by yet another one of his teachers on September 8, the day after the first incident. This teacher, a substitute, accused Chaney of very loudly in front of his classmates of not wanting to stand because he was “just lazy.” Chaney’s father, Brian Chaney, says that isn’t the case at all. He notes that his son is involved in many after-school extracurricular activities at East Middle School, and his decision to not stand for the pledge has never been an issue in the past. “We want people to know people have rights. You can’t put your hands on children, or adults, for this reason,” said Mr. Chaney. “What was done to my son was wrong,” Chaney continued. “For him to be violently snatched out of his chair by a lady … is a violation of his civil rights. It’s a violation.”
As for the younger Chaney, he says he doesn’t feel safe going back to East Middle again just yet. “I don’t know what they’re going to do next,” he told WDTV. Whether he realizes it or not, young Stone Chaney is in great company. Ever since Colin Kaepernick began his principled protest against police brutality one year ago, he’s been joined by athletes across the nation, including a youth football team in Beaumont, TX who were subjected to racist taunts, death threats, and the cancellation of the remainder of their season in response to their protest.