Teacher Suspended for Assault after Student Refused to Stand for Pledge


Like many schools across the nation, when I was young, each morning started with the Pledge of Allegiance.

We took turns in leading the class in standing up, placing a hand over our hearts, and reciting the words from memory.

But on Jan. 30, physical education teacher at Angevine Middle School Karen Smith was accused of crossing a line in Lafayette, Colorado during the Pledge.

Police and school officials are now investigating the 20-year gym teacher for allegedly assaulting a student who wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

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In situations like these, it’s clear that opinions on proper conduct are strong. But these opinions should never, ever, lead to violence such as this.

School officials have since put Smith on paid administrative leave while the situation is sorted out by police and investigators.

Police officials, who responded to the school around noon, say that they cannot give out many details on the active investigation.

The nature of the assault is still unknown, and the Lafayette Police Department is investigating to find out what Smith did to “make the child stand.”

As a seasoned educator, Smith should have known to keep her personal political convictions out of the classroom environment when they led her to the point of assaulting a student.

Now, her losing her cool and resorting to physical violence to do it means she now may face repercussions.

The school district has hired a substitute teacher in light of Smith’s absence until the investigation is completed.

CBS 4 news spoke to parents of students after school, some of which said that the teacher was known to be strict, but had never had an issue with her.

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Other parents told the media that the situation may have been “blown out of proportion.” CBS 4 also noted that no charges have been filed yet.

If the allegations are substantiated, I can’t imagine this ending well — there’s no excuse for a teacher to ever put their hands on a student.

Yet perhaps Smith’s story and those like it can serve as and example and a teaching moment for the rest of us.

When opinions drive us to physical action like this, it’s time to stop and reevaluate the situation and our sense of right and wrong. Violence is just never the answer.

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