A patriotic teacher who thanked students for standing for the Pledge of Allegiance has been banned from his school in Missouri because students who refused to stand for the pledge felt ‘hurt’ and ‘bullied’.
Teacher Jim Furkin, 66, thanked students for standing for the Pledge of Allegiance but at least one student who did not stand reported Mr. Furkin to the school administrator and got him banned from the school for being divisive, according to DailyMailTV’s St. Louis affiliate FOX 2 News.
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It is a school district where school board members stand and recite the pledge at every meeting and where the Parkway South nickname is ‘Patriots.’
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‘The PA announcer says please rise for the pledge of allegiance,’ Furkin told Fox 2. ‘I say let’s go. The kids get up, 24 kids in class and 22 got up.
‘There are always two or three who don’t stand up because it’s not required. So at the end of the pledge I said thank you very much, all of you that participated. I appreciate that.
‘I’m sure all of those families that lost loved ones so we could have the freedoms we have today would appreciate that, too. That’s what I said’.
MailOnline reports: One student asked to go to the counselor’s office, Furkin said. Later a school administrator questioned Furkin about what happened and told him that a student had been ‘hurt‘ by what was said after the pledge.
‘I said Oh, I didn’t mean it that way, that wasn’t my intent at all,‘ Furkin said. ‘He said, We’ll get back to you and then the next day after that, I’m no longer welcome in the building’.
Furkin was a substitute teacher for the district for about ten years. He filled in at Parkway South almost daily for the past five years. The encouragement for support of the pledge is nothing new, he said.
Still, after the incident district officials told him he could no longer work at Parkway South but could still fill in at other schools. He told the school board this week he was finished.
Kelly Educational Staffing, the agency that employs Furkin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Furkin said the staffing agency told him that he wasn’t being allowed back because he had ‘bullied‘ a student.
‘To me personally, the flag represents freedom, and there’s a lot of price that’s been paid for the freedom we have today,’ Furkin said.
‘That’s all I’m saying to the kids. Could somebody feel offended by that? I would hope not’.
Furkin compared his action to complimenting the hairstyle of one board member but not the others and then being banned from future meetings because he’d bullied the other board members. The flag, he said, was a special case with him.
‘I just think that I would try to convey something like that to the kids who just take everything for granted. That flag is not to be taken for granted, in my opinion. It is our symbol of freedom,’ Furkin said.
But Fox News reported that in a letter home to parents and staff, the school superintendent said the pledge incident was not the sole factor in Furkin being banned from Parkway South.
‘While we cannot share details of individual personnel matters, we would not recommend that a substitute teacher be restricted from a school simply based on a single isolated incident such as this.
‘Several factors, including prior concerns at other schools, would be taken into consideration before making a recommendation.’