- A Florida teacher was caught on video admonishing a student for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance.
- A viral TikTok of the Wednesday incident has amassed more than 160,000 views.
- A school district spokesperson told Insider that the teacher was removed and an investigation is in progress.
A Florida school district removed a high school teacher who was recorded using racist rhetoric to admonish a student who didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
A TikTok of the Wednesday incident has amassed more than 160,000 views as of Friday. A spokesperson for Manatee County Schools told Insider that the district launched an investigation into the matter.
The video shows a male teacher at Bradenton High school berating a student who appears to be Latino over his apparent refusal to stand and salute the flag. The video is captioned: “my friend didn’t stand for the pledge and this what the teacher said.”
“You are gonna sit there on your butt?” the teacher angrily asks the student, who doesn’t respond.
“If you want to do something, just get up and do it,” the teacher adds. “I will defend my country to the very end.”
“I won’t hurt you,” the teenager says in response.
The teacher, who appears to be white, then launches into a display of xenophobia.
“Then go back to your … where are you from? Mexico or Guatemala? Where?”
“I was born here,” the student replies.
“You were born here? And you won’t stand up for the flag?” the teacher responds, throwing his hands in the air before the video ends.
A spokesperson for the Manatee County School District confirmed that the teacher shown in the video was removed from the school on the day of the incident but did not offer any further details about his identity.
The teacher no longer has any contact with students, the representative said, and the school district’s Office of Professional Standards is investigating the incident.
“The School District of Manatee County strongly condemns any language or behavior that degrades, humiliates or insults any individuals — most especially the young people, families and community we have the privilege of serving,” the district said in a statement.
Students at public schools and universities have a constitutional right to express “symbolic speech” by sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem. But some states, including Florida, require K-12 students to have parental permission to forgo standing during the pledge, according to state law.