A Chicago high school drivers ed teacher was fired Tuesday after a parent complained he made her son stand for the pledge of allegiance. This isn’t the first time this student has refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance, but apparently it is his right.
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Shemar Cooper, a 15-year-old sophomore student at Eisenhower High School, and his mother, Kelley Porter Turner, informed the school that Cooper’s First Amendment rights were being infringed upon by driving instructor, Vince Ziebarth, who told Cooper to stand for the pledge of allegiance.
Ziebarth wasn’t physical with Cooper. He didn’t yell at him; he simply told him how he feels about the pledge of allegiance and why everyone should stand for it.
“I told him I stand to honor the sacrifice and bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It doesn’t mean America is perfect, or that we agree with everything going on,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
That didn’t sit well with Turner as she emailed the school the next day and told them to “take care of it.” A week later Ziebarth, a teacher of three years, was fired for what the school cited as “inappropriate comments.”
Even after losing his job and not having another lined up, Ziebarth doesn’t regret his decision. “I told him he can make a choice to sit, but as long as you choose to sit, you will not sit in my (drivers ed) vehicle. I did not tell him what to do,” he said in a recent interview.
The drivers ed teacher even made it clear that there were other teachers who could have taught Cooper to drive a car. But he stands by his decision and says he didn’t act in malice.
In September of last year, Cooper and his mother made headlines again when the Spanish teacher grabbed Cooper’s arm and forcefully made him stand for the pledge.
Cooper responded by telling the teacher that “America sucks.” His mother stated that her son plans on continuing to boycott the pledge and claimed that “America is a very racist country, there is no freedom or love for black people.”
Maybe Cooper and his mother don’t understand that Cooper’s right to sit during the pledge is one of the freedoms he has because he lives in America. Wonder how his actions would be handled in N. Korea?