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Colorado teacher allegedly assaulted student who refused to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A Boulder, Colo., teacher allegedly assaulted a middle school student for refusing to stand for the pledge. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A Boulder, Colorado, teacher is on paid administrative leave following allegations that she assaulted a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the Times-Call reported.

Police are investigating the alleged attack by Karen Smith, a physical education teacher at Angevine Middle School in the Boulder Valley School District, according to the report. Lafayette police Cmdr. Brian Rosipajla indicated that officers responded to the school around noon on Thursday, following reports that a teacher was assaulting a child for refusing to stand for the pledge. Additional details about incident were not available.

Boulder Valley schools spokesman Randy Barber told the Times-Call that Smith is a 20-year veteran of the district.

What is the district's policy on the pledge?

Barber indicated that under the district's policy, students are allowed to either sit or stand during the pledge. Citing confidentiality for personnel matters, he neither confirmed nor denied the incident happened, the Times-Call reported.

Police and school officials told the Times-Call that the matter is still under investigation.

On Thursday, the school district sent a letter to parents stating a substitute teacher would be filling in for Smith as the investigation continues.

"We are dedicated, as always, to supporting our students and ensuring that we have qualified educators working with them during their physical education time," the letter stated.

More pledge problems?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernicks sparked a national protest movement in the fall of 2016 after he refused to stand during the national anthem. At the time, Kaepernicks said he did it to protest police violence and other discrimination against black people and other people of color. By some accounts, the move expanded into a protest against President Donald Trump after he criticized the action. The protest also extended into colleges and high schools.

In October, a Houston, Texas, student said she was expelled for not standing for the pledge. India Landry, 17, said she refused to stand for the pledge because it "goes against everything I believe in."

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