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Long Island health teacher Steven Solomon has been suspended from student work after posting on Facebook that he had failed two students in the past for failing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Uniondale School District said it is “aware” of the Facebook post and is investigating in a statement reported by ABC7 New York:
The Uniondale School District is aware of a teacher posting on social media about a situation involving grades and standing for the Pledge of Allegiance that occurred more than a decade ago. The District has taken the proactive measure of assigning this faculty member to out-of-classroom duties until further investigation into the matter can be completed. The District will make available any information that is uncovered that can legally and responsibly be released to the public.
Solomon says he is being targeted, saying “I want kids to have respect and stand for the pledge and have respect for people in this country, [and] they want to try to suspend me and fire me?”
The incident Solomon references in the post took place ten years ago at Uniondale High School, according to the Merrick Patch.
“I required all my students to at least stand for the pledge,” wrote Solomon in his post. “Two of my students refused to stand and went to the principal complaining I couldn’t legally make them stand… The next day they refused to stand saying ‘they didn’t have to’ [sic] I told them that is true and and that what makes this country great is ‘that I didn’t have to pass them either.'”
“Both of these un patriotic kids both [sic] ended up with a 63 avg [average], and under ordinary circumstances I would have passed them both, instead I failed them both,” concluded Solomon. “The next year… I had them both back in my home room class and when I asked the class to stand, these two suckers were the first up!”
Once alerted to the post, Uniondale High School parents objected to passing or failing students on the criteria of being suitably “patriotic.” Others objected to Solomon’s use of “suckers” for the affected students, who have not been identified at this time.
Solomon is now doing damage control, claiming the comment was “goofing off to a friend” and that the incident taught the students a hard lesson that they deserved. “They’re not choir kids,” he said. “These are kids who say they don’t care if these military people live or die.”
“These students failed themselves. They had less than a passing grade, and that combined with poor behavior, which included, part of it was they didn’t stand for the pledge,” Solomon added.
“I thought this just went to [his Facebook friend],” said Solomon, who says the post he was responding to claimed that “teachers don’t teach respect anymore” and “don’t have kids stand for the pledge anymore” and he wanted to set the record straight.