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Baltimore County teacher accused of reprimanding a student for not standing during pledge

CATONSVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL.JPG

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A Baltimore County teacher is under fire after being accused of reprimanding an 11-year-old student for not standing for the pledge of allegiance. The student is now getting support from the ACLU.

Mariana Taylor is standing up for what she believes. She’s taking a knee inside her classroom at Catonsville Middle School during the pledge to protest racism and sexism in America.

But Mariana's teacher reacted. "She basically implied that I was disrespecting the country," the student said. "I wasn't so much disrespecting the country as standing up what I believe in," she said.

Mariana told her guidance counselor what happened, who then called the child’s parents.

"My biggest problem with it is that a person with authority is sort of imposing their will and beliefs on an impressionable child," said Bob Taylor, Mariana’s father.

"There was no disruption by Mariana. The only disruption was made by the teacher," said Joanne Taylor, the child’s mother.

Mariana is now getting support from the ACLU, who says the Supreme Court has already established that students and teachers do not lose First Amendment rights when they enter a school.

"The First Amendment protects the right of any student to engage in any kind of silent protest as long as they're not being disruptive and that includes kneeling in dissent," said ACLU Legal Associate Jay Jimenez.

"No, I do not love the racism and I don't love the sexism. That does not mean I hate my country," said Mariana.

Baltimore County school officials have released a statement that reads in part: “Baltimore County Public Schools has no record of any student being punished or reprimanded for choosing not to participate in the pledge of allegiance. We fully support students’ rights and encourage student voice as articulated in board policy."

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