A fourth grade classroom recites the Pledge of Allegiance (file photo)
Spring Hill, Florida -- A Hernando County teacher has been suspended after forcing a 4th grader to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Anne Daigle-McDonald, a teacher at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill, forced the student to place his hand over his heart and recite the Pledge. The student is a Jehovah's Witness, and his religion forbids him from participating in activities considered to be the worship of objects.
The boy reportedly protested, but Daigle-McDonald told him, "You are an American and you are supposed to salute the flag."
The following day she allegedly forced him again to take the Pledge, telling the classroom that "if you can't put your hand on your heart, then you need to move out of the country."
After an investigation, the school suspended Daigle-McDonald for five days without pay, and instructed her to take diversity training.
In a conference with Hernando school officials, the teacher says that while she knew the boy did not practice birthdays or holidays, she was unaware he was forbidden to say the Pledge.
Still, Hernando County school policy says students don't have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance if they don't want to, and that no reason needs to be given.
Parents with students at Explorer K-8 were shocked to hear what Ms. Daigle-McDonald did to the boy.
"He is a Jehovah's Witness and he is only doing or not doing what his parents raised him to do," says parent Kelly Babcock.
"She touched a child and that is no-no,"says grandparent Donna Walker. "She should not be teaching here. She should not be teaching children."
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