|Published:||Sep 23, 2011 10:06 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 23, 2011 10:25 PM EDT|
CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A protest against the Pledge of Allegiance.
A Cape Coral High School student has been suspended for repeatedly refusing to stand up during the pledge.
18 year-old Chris High says he is serving a two day suspension for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance.
He says he's not being anti-American.
In fact he believes by not standing, he's fighting for all Americans.
"I find it hypocritical to say justice for all when there's no justice for all when you still have gay couples who can't marry. I thought this can't be right. I don't want to pledge myself to a country where not everyone is free," Chris High told WINK News.
Twice this week he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I kindly asked if I could sit down. She said no. I kindly told her it's my first amendment right to sit down," High said.
The high school senior says it's his freedom of speech and expression to sit and not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Lee County School District follows state law, which says, the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge. They just have to submit a written request by a parent excusing them.
Chris High says school administrators told him several times to get a note and he could be excused, but he refuses to do that.
"That first amendment should be my note rather than having to write a note," he said.
Friday morning he was suspended for insubordination and disrespect.
The final straw was when Chris made a gesture, a "Hitler sign" when asked to do the pledge.
His teacher sent him to the Principal's Office.
"I want to apologize for doing this, but I was very very discontent with how they were treating me. I felt like I was back in Nazi Germany where you're forced to pledge to your country," he said.
His suspension has students talking.
"I've been called a communist a couple times by random peers," Chris said.
Others students support him.
"You're in the United States and you have the freedom of expression, and if someone's going to get suspended let it be for a fight," one student told WINK News.
Chris says he also has the support of his parents.
He hopes his actions opens communication and isn't misconstrued as being anti-American, but really having justice for all.
"I have a couple of gay friends who feel they can't come out because they're afraid of what society will do to them. How they will berate them. They're afraid and I don't want to pledge to a country where you afraid to come out and afraid to be who you are," he said.
The Lee School District says Chris was suspended after he made the Hitler gesture because it violates the school's Code of Conduct, not because he didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
On Tuesday, Chris and his parents will meet with the school principal to see what will happen next.
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