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My son sat during the Pledge of Allegiance and his teacher tried to pull him out of his seat.

  • Steve Colton
Shemar Cooper

On Friday (8/26) my son (Shemar Cooper- 15) decided to sit down during the Pledge of Allegiance and as his teacher (Ms. Alfano) requested him to stand, he said "America Suck." I went to the school and made my son apologize as I clearly explained to Ms. Alfano that Shemar has a right to sit still and be quiet. Ms. Alfano clearly stated that there would be no more problems and Shemar was welcome to sit quietly.

On Tuesday, (8/30) Ms. Alfano tried to pull my son out of his chair as he chose to sit still during the Pledge of Allegiance. She also threatened to write him up and/or kick him out of the class. I spoke to the Principle, Ms. Majoch, (not knowing that Ms. Alfano tried to pull Shemar out of his seat) and shared my concern about the threats and harassment after Ms. Alfano and I talked on Friday. I suggested to Ms. Majoch that Ms. Alfano apologizes to my son. The next day, I learned Ms. Alfano put her hands on my son and on Thursday, (9/1) Ms. Alfano and Dean Lopez had my son in the office again reprimanding him, yet the meeting was requested by the principal for Ms. Alfano to apologize to Shemar. I went up to the school Thursday (9/1) and had a meeting with the Asst. The principle, the head of Security, and Dean Lopez and expressed my concerns. I called the police and nothing was done. I was told by Blue Island Police Department that I had to wait until the officer who works within the school was present. I was also told the school is “protected.”

Since 8/26, Ms. Alfano has harassed my son in the class by making statements like; “don’t be disrespectful, stand up and be respectful.” She refuses to respect our beliefs and instead attempted to force my son to stand up and pledge something he does not believe in.

I made several complaints to the Superintendent since July and was ignored. Finally, on Thursday, Sept. 2nd he decided to call me. At that point, I was fed up and involved the American Humanist Association as well as National News. See links to the left. 

Eisenhower Attorney's got involved after receiving a letter from the American Humanist Association and after the investigation, it was founded that Ms. Alfano's behavior was a direct violation to my son, Shemar Cooper's First Amendment Right. Ms. Alfano was suspended, District 218 administration and teachers will be retrained and will have yearly training regarding the rights of their students. I am happy with the results.

In essence, we have to advocate for our children and make sure the educational system and all other systems treat our children fairly. Shemar Cooper is and always will be a leader as he has made National news with his ability to sit during the Pledge and stand for what he believes in. I am deeply proud of my son and the man he is becoming.
Shemar came home from school on Thursday (9/8) and was pretty distracted. He shared with me these exact words.

"While I was walking to my bus, my friend Tyrone called my name and told me that Ms. Alfano asked the class who was on her side. After that my Freshman friend came up to us and said Ms. Alfano made us do a writing assignment on who's side they are on and the Freshman friend said, "Thanks because it was for a grade just to do it......

I emailed the Principal, Ass. Principal and the Superintendent. I immediately received a response from the Superintendent stating...

Ms. Porter Turner –

I can assure you that the building will look into this immediately tomorrow. We would all like to move forward from this situation and get back to teaching and learning. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

Ty Harting

NATIONAL NEWS: ​​And A Child Shall Lead....

WGN Interview- Student says teacher tried to force him to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

WBBM Radio (CBS) - Student Reprimanded For Sitting During The Pledge Of Allegiance

Peacock Panache - IL Teacher Punishes Student For Refusal to Stand for Pledge

WBEZ Chicago - Student Says He’s Being Harassed For Not Pledging Allegiance

Atlanta Black Star - Teacher Forces an Illinois High School Student Protesting Police Brutality to Stand for Pledge

You Tube - Shemar Cooper Grabbed By Teacher For Not Standing For Pledge Of Allegiance

The College Fix - High school teacher accused of forcing student to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

Opposing Views - Teen sits for Pledge, Teacher Forces Him Out of Chair

Rolling Out - Pay Day Coming to Student Reprimanded for Sitting During Pledge of Allegiance?

Patheos - Illinois School Punishes Student for Not Standing for Pledge

Urban Intellects- WE ARE WITH HIM: High School Student Who Refused To Stand For Pledge Punished!


All Afrikan Network - USA: Teacher Forces an Illinois High School Student Protesting Police Brutality to Stand for Pledge

OOYUZbet - Payday coming to student reprimanded for sitting during Pledge of Allegiance?

Pledge Letter Sent to Eisenhower HS - Constitutional Violation

Response From Eisenhower Attorney's - Actions Were Taken


CBS Chicago (WBBMRADIO) - Teacher Disciplined After Trying To Force Student To Stand For Pledge

Chicago Tribune - Eisenhower High School sophomore who said he has dealt with threats and harassment from fellow students following a flap with a teacher over his participation in the Pledge of Allegiance last month is leaving the school.

Fox 32 News- Teen who sits during Pledge of Allegiance being withdrawn from school

Good House Keeping - Teacher Suspended After Trying to Force Student to Stand for the Pledge

Farrah Gray - Teacher is disciplined for forcing student, 15, who said ‘America sucks’ to stand up for the pledge of allegiance

Education News - Teacher Disciplined After Trying To Force Student To Stand For Pledge - Teacher disciplined after trying to force student to stand for Pledge 

Black Daily News - Teacher Disciplined After Trying To Force Student To Stand For Pledge

Daily Mail - UK - Teacher is disciplined for forcing student, 15, who said 'America sucks' to stand up for the pledge of allegiance
Obama Signs Executive Order Banning Pledge of Allegiance in Schools Nationwide

ESPN- Colin Kaepernick protests anthem over treatment of minorities

Los Angeles Times - Obama defends Colin Kaepernick's right to protest 

US Uncut - The entire Seattle Seahawks team will protest the national anthem at opening game
Elementary Genocide - The School to Prison Pipeline

MARCH 2017
My son sat during the Pledge of Allegiance and his Driver's Ed teacher refused to allow him to drive. 

NBC Interview: Teacher Fired After Denying Lessons to Student Who Sat For Pledge of Allegiance

WGN Interview: Popular suburban teacher fired for confronting student who refused to stand for Pledge

CBS Interview: Teacher Fired After Confronting Student Who Sat For Pledge

Chicago Tribune: Eisenhower fires teacher over allegedly 'bullying' student into standing for Pledge

Washington Times: Chicago teacher fired after refusing to teach student who sat out Pledge of Allegiance