- Photo Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
A teacher in Florida was suspended after forcing a child in her fourth grade class to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Anne Daigle-McDonald, a teacher at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill, Fla., is thought to have made the child place his hand over his heart during the pledge, according to a report by The Tampa Bay Times.
The student, whose name has been withheld because he is a minor, is a Jehovah's Witness and is prevented from worshipping objects, including the American Flag.
However, when the boy did not participate during the pledge, the teacher is thought to have said: "you are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag."
Afterwards, the boy alerted a school administrator.
There were other reports that the teacher talked to the class the next day regarding the previous incident.
"In my classroom, everyone will do the pledge; no religion says that you can't do the pledge," she said, according to The Tampa Bay Times. "If you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."
Hernando County School District officials investigated the incident and held a hearing where officials determined that the teacher "violated a number of state education rules, professional conduct principles and the student's right to free speech and freedom of religion."
"Regardless of the circumstances that may have brought them about, such inappropriate actions on your part do not reflect positively on your position," Hernando County School Superintendent Lori Romano wrote in a statement.
As a consequence, Daigle-McDonald was suspended without pay for five days and told to attend diversity training.
A 1943 Supreme Court ruling made it unconstitutional to make a pupil to salute the flag or say the pledge regardless of reason.