Florida Teacher Suspended For Challenging Student Refusing To Stand For Pledge of Allegiance

A social media post has led to the suspension of a Florida high school teacher who became angry with a student who refused to stand in class for the Pledge of Allegiance. A student captured the incident on video and posted it to TikTok, where it went viral and caused a surging controversy.

The video, which has more than a million views, shows Robert Reiber, a 61-year-old art teacher at Manatee High School in Bradenton sharply criticizing a Hispanic student for failing to stand for the pledge. Reiber lost his composure and loudly berated the student, saying: “We defend our country and you are going to sit there on your butt?”

When the student still did not stand, Reiber challenged him, saying, “If you wanna do something, get up and do it. I’ll defend my country until the very end.”

The teacher then told the student to go back to where he is from and then asking, “Where are you from? Mexico? Or Guatemala? Where?”

When the student said he was “born here,” Reiber yelled back, “You were born here, and you won’t stand up for the flag?”

Reiber was reportedly removed from classroom instruction after the incident and has been reassigned to a position where he does not come in contact with students. Manatee School District spokesman Michael Barber told reporters that the school district’s investigation into the matter is still ongoing.

Barber confirmed that students in the district are required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance unless they have a written notice from a parent or guardian requesting they be excused from participating. He went on to say that policy does not excuse Reiber’s apparent behavior in response to the student’s refusal to stand.

Barber’s statement went on to say that the district “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.”