A ten-year-old boy from Arkansas has refused to pledge allegiance to the flag until gays and lesbians have equal rights.
Will Phillips, a pupil in West Fork School District in Washington County, decided to remain seated on Monday October 5th while other children in his class stood to pledge allegiance to the US flag.
A substitute teacher tried to make him stand, but Will refused. He continued to refuse for several more days until the teacher became angry. At this point, Will admitted he had told her to “respectfully … go and jump off a bridge”.
He was then made to complete an assignment on why Americans make the pledge while the principal called his mother Laura Phillips, who asserted it was Will’s legal right not to stand.
Will told the Arkansas Times that he hoped to be a lawyer one day but added: “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”
Although his parents are straight, the family has attended a number of gay Pride events and have gay friends.
He added that he had been called a “gaywad” by some students but many friends had been supportive. He has refused to pledge allegiance since.
When the newspaper asked Will what it means to be American, he replied: “Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents.”