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- A teacher at First Coast High School in Florida was removed from the classroom for criticizing students who chose not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
- His removal came after an image circulated on social media in which he told students they were “extremely lucky to be living in the USA”
- The message also said students were immature if they didn’t stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem.
- Now the Duval County Office of Professional Standards is investigating the situation.
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A teacher at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida, was removed for criticizing students who chose not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The teacher, who refers to himself as “Mr. Goodman,” was removed from a marine biology classroom after images of a message he wrote on a whiteboard began to circulate on social media, according to News 4 Jax.
In a message written on a whiteboard, he wrote that his students are “extremely lucky to be living in the USA” and implied that they are immature if they don’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem.
Here’s what the message says in full:
“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960’s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president, the superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man, Mr. Simmons, who is now a D.C.P.S. administrator.
MY POINT? You are all extremely lucky to be living in the USA If you refuse to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem, are you revealing maturity and wisdom? Actually, you are displaying the opposite. (As some pampered arrogant celebrities and athletes tend to do.)”
One parent, who spoke to News 4 Jax under the condition of anonymity, said she was upset her daughter saw this message in a classroom setting.
“I think that he was out of bounds and it was inappropriate. He should not have been voicing his opinion on students,” said the parent. “His opinion is his opinion and he is entitled to his opinion, but the classroom, especially a marine biology class, is not the place for that.”
A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools told INSIDER that the school district became aware of this message on Wednesday afternoon.
The message could be in violation of state law and school board policy, the spokesperson said. Specifically, Florida Statute 1003.44 and Board Policy 3.60 allows students to be excused from reciting or standing the Pledge of Allegiance if they have written permission from their parents to do so.
Additionally, the Code of Student Conduct states: “Pursuant to Florida Statutes, students have the right not to participate in reciting the pledge. Upon written request by his or her parent, a student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart.”
Based on this, the First Coast High School decided to remove the teacher from the classroom pending review.
“I believe classrooms provide the perfect place to have insightful and thought-provoking discussions about patriotic expressions and civil liberty,” First Coast High Principal Justin Fluent said. “However, this must be done in a productive and respectful way, and in accordance with the law and school board policy.”
The incident has been turned over to the Duval County Office of Professional Standards.
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