A substitute teacher in St. Louis was banned from the district after one kid called the teacher a “bully” because he dared to thank the children for standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The teacher, 66-year-old Jim Furkin, reportedly thanked his class for standing for the pledge, but not every kid stood and one who did not stand said the teacher “bullied” him by thanking his classmates, according to Fox 2 Now.
“The PA announcer says please rise for the pledge of allegiance,” Furkin told the media. “I say ‘let’s go’. The kids get up, 24 kids in class and 22 got up. I say, ‘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.”
Furkin has been a substitute for 10 years and has filled in almost daily at St Louis’ Parkway High. But now he is fired.
The teacher also says that he has used that line in classrooms for some time and never got a single complaint in the past.
“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 added.
But to Furkin’s intense denial, the school claimed that there was a “pattern” of inappropriate behavior, here.
In a statement, the school said, “there has been an omission of important facts in this case. The truth is, we recommended that this substitute not return due to a pattern of inappropriate conduct.”
“The employee was previously restricted from another Parkway high school for recording video of students without their permission in class,” the statement continued. “In addition, he violated appropriate teacher-to-student interactions by sharing his personal contact information with students at South High. Based on previous concerns from staff and students, the principal of South High addressed these matters with the substitute teacher. The substitute was coached and reminded of his professional obligations.”
Furkin, though, wondered if the district had such serious qualms about him, why was he never let go until the pledge incident.
In the end, Furkin says that it is time to retire.
“Yeah, I’ve had enough. That’s a shame. That’s what I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss the kids,” he said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.