Hernando Teacher Suspended After Requiring Fourth-Grader to Participate in Pledge of Allegiance
“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 issue is one that has cropped up in school districts across the country for decades: Do students have a right to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance?
In the Hernando County School District, the answer is clear: Yes.
The district recently concluded an investigation into the incidents, finding that McDonald violated a number of state education rules, professional conduct principles and the student’s right to free speech and freedom of religion.
On Oct. 7, superintendent Lori Romano suspended the teacher for five days without pay. Daigle-McDonald, who has been with the district for nine years, was issued a formal letter of reprimand and instructed to attend diversity training. The misconduct was also reported to the state.