KNWA News: WEST FORK, Arkansas -- "When I heard from the principal, I was not happy," said Jay Phillips.
Jay and Laura Phillips were shocked to hear their 10-year-old talked back to a teacher at West Fork Middle school Thursday -- but were less surprised when they found out why.
"Don't push him -- four days of hassle, hassle, hassle and raise your voice," said Laura Phillips. "He's going to lose his temper."
Their son told them last weekend he had decided to no longer stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school because he didn't believe there is liberty and justice for all, especially when it comes to gay rights.
"To say them [words] and not mean them would be a lie," Jay said.
This week their son says a substitute teacher prodded him every day to stand up and say the pledge after he had refused. He then says he got angry, and talked back. The Phillips said that they reprimanded him for that, but they don't want him to be pushed to do something he doesn't feel comfortable doing.
"We would like to have the school make sure the teachers know the kids do have the right to sit down and make their own choices, even if he is only 10 and in 5th grade," Laura said.
She chooses not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but Jay does. They said that they respect each other's choices -- and their son's -- and they don't see it as an insult to the country.
"He is not anti-American," Laura said. "He is very proud to live here, but he knows even at 10 he can make changes."
The West Fork School District responded by saying that they don't require students to say the pledge.
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