A New York school teacher has been suspended after he admitted giving two students failing grades ten years ago because they did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
According to Newsday, Uniondale High School health teacher Steven Solomon, 58, made his comments in a Facebook post which has since been deleted, but not before he was suspended with pay while school authorities decide what to do.
Speaking with Newsday, Solomon said the atmosphere ten years ago was different than it is today, and that “These kids failed themselves.”
“They had a 63 or 62… less than passing,” Solomon said without identifying the students. “They did not stand for the pledge. That was part of the component, and it’s the teacher’s discretion at that point whether they want to pass them or not.“
“I didn’t make them stand. They didn’t stand. They sat,” he said. “I encouraged them to stand and I said your standing is just a respect for the country, the flag and for the military people that risked their lives to fight to protect your freedom.”
“If a kid doesn’t stand for the pledge, who said he doesn’t care if these military people live or die, who doesn’t respect his peers and is a discipline problem in the classroom — why should I reward this kid?” he continued.
According to the report, Solomon was reported to school authorities by Facebook readers who were upset that he referred to the students in question as “suckers.”
Solomon was relieved of his classroom duties — as well as his duties as the school’s union representative — while administrators figure out what their options are.
“The 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,” Superintendent William Lloyd said in a statement. “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. “