An 11-year-old student in Lakeland, Florida, was recently arrested after he allegedly made threats against school officials, Spectrum Bay News 9 reported. Other media reports indicated the boy was arrested for his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The boy's mother, Dhakira Talbot, who said her son is in gifted classes at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, has demanded that the charges against her son be dropped.
"I want the charges dropped and I want the school to be held accountable for what happened because it shouldn't have been handled the way it was handled," Talbot told the news station.
What are the details?
It all began Feb. 4, when the sixth-grader refused to follow a substitute teacher's directions and stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The student, who is black, allegedly told the teacher that the American flag is racist and that the national anthem was offensive to black people, according to the arrest report, Bay News 9 reported.
"Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live?" the teacher reportedly told the boy.
"They brought me here," the boy responded, according to the teacher's statement to the district.
"Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I'm not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live," the teacher replied.
"Then I had to call the office because I did not want to continue dealing with him," she wrote in the statement.
The arrest report stated that the school resource officer arrested the boy after he refused to follow multiple commands, repeatedly called school leaders racist, and caused a disruption.
During the ruckus, the boy allegedly threatened to have the school principal and resource officer fired. He also reportedly threatened to beat the teacher.
The student was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended from school for three days.
What else did the student's mother say?
Talbot told the news outlet that she's "upset" and "angry" over the incident.
"I'm upset, I'm angry. I'm hurt," she said. "More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should've been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should've been taken, it should've been with the school. He shouldn't have been arrested."
The boy's mother was also upset with the way the substitute teacher handled the incident.
"She was wrong. She was way out of place," Talbot said. "If she felt like there was an issue with my son not standing for the flag, she should've resolved that in a way different manner than she did."
The boy, who was on-hand during his mother's interview with the outlet, denied that he had threatened to beat the teacher.
What did the school district say?
The substitute teacher was reportedly unaware that students are not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, a district spokeswoman told the news outlet. She will no longer be allowed to work in the district.
The district said it is continuing its investigation into the incident.