BLUE ISLAND, Ill. -- A teacher in Illinois was fired after confronting a student who reportedly refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
In September 2016, 15-year-old Shemar Cooper refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at school, WGN reports.
“America doesn't respect Blacks,” Shemar told WGN. “Until they stop killing us, I'm not going to stand up.”
A teacher who chastised him for it at the time was reprimanded and Shemar’s mother thought that was the end of it.
But it wasn’t.
According to WGN, about a month ago, Drivers Ed teacher Vince Ziebarth told Shemar that as long as he was sitting for the Pledge of Allegiance, the teen would not be driving with Ziebarth.
“I believe the pledge is a sacred thing,” Ziebarth said.
Ziebarth didn't think much of it and assumed that was the end of the conversation.
But he was wrong.
Last week, the teacher was fired.
“I honestly had no idea, that’s how long ago it was,” Ziebarth said. “I didn’t even know where the principal’s office was. I’ve got a sterling reputation in this district.”
Now, some students at the school are standing up for the teacher.
Some of them even started an online petition to get the teacher rehired.
Shemar’s position hasn’t changed, WGN reports.
He says he's still not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
His mother, Kelly Porter, told WGN that her son has been getting some abuse at school over Ziebarth’s dismissal, which she says wasn’t just appropriate, but necessary.
“Adults should not behave that way,” Porter said. “That’s childish. That’s really childish for him to say my son’s behaviors … let me correct myself, my son’s 1st Amendment right to sit doesn’t align with his beliefs.”
The school district confirmed with WGN that Ziebarth is no longer employed by the district.