FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – A small group of protesters gathered outside a Farmington Hills school to show support for a 6th grade student who was forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The boy’s father, Brian Chaney, organized the demonstration but didn’t show up Monday morning. He told reporters earlier this week he was upset after his child was allegedly assaulted by a teacher — violently snatched out of his chair during the Pledge.
Among the handful of people speaking to reporters in front of East Middle School was local resident Bob Day, who likened the incident others in the news today.
“To me it’s tied in with the 15-year-old the cops killed in Detroit, this attack in Farmington Hills; there were racist attacks against black U of M students yesterday, racist graffiti, fascist graffiti in Royal Oak,” Day said. “Young people in our communities are under attack from fascists and from the government.”
Chaney says he hasn’t stood for the Pledge or National Anthem for more than 20 years, and his son made the same decision.
That’s fine with 16-year-old Maddi, a former student at East Middle School, who said she feels that students should be able to represent their values, whether or not people agree with them.
“And there’s no good reason for a teacher to use physical force,” she told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas.
Maddie added that she does believes race is at issue in this particular case.
“We need to be talking about the rights of the students in the district,” she said. “I think we need to be talking about the fact that this was a young African American boy. For example, I’ve heard stories of other students who this has happened to, and it’s gotten resolved quickly because they were in fact white students.”
A few school board members were present at Monday’s rally, including Mark Przeslawski who said they’re out there to support the kids.
“The bottom line is: Did a child get mistreated in this district by teachers?” Przeslawski said. “If the allegations are proved true, our school superintendent with his staff are going to make the recommendations to the board as to what should be done. We will oversee that from a board standpoint.
The teacher involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.