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Illinois student says teacher tried to force him to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

BLUE ISLAND, Illinois — A high school student in the south suburbs says a teacher tried to physically pull him out of his seat when he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. And the student’s mother is calling for the teacher to be suspended, reports WGN.

Shemar Cooper, 15, says he first decided to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance last Friday in his Spanish class at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island.

When his teacher told him to stand up, he said no because, "America Sucks."

At the urging of his mother, Kelley Porter-Turner, Shemar says he apologized to the teacher for his use of language but not for refusing to stand and recite the pledge.

The family thought the matter was resolved until Shemar was back in the teacher's class on Tuesday.

Shemar again refused to stand and this time he says the teacher tried to force him out of his seat. Shemar says the teacher tried to physically pull him out of his seat.

Shemar's mother says she reported the incident to Blue Island police. She wanted charges filed against the teacher. She says her family has served this country proudly and her father served in the army during World War II.

But she says she's proud of her son for making a statement against police shootings and oppression.

“America doesn't respect Blacks,” Shemar told WGN News. “Until they stop killing us, I'm not going to stand up.”

"We don't hate America," Kelley said.  "It's the behaviors that are put out from some of the people towards Black people that we disapprove of."

The family says they had no idea when this all started about the current controversy surrounding NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand for the national anthem

The school's principal sent WGN News a statement saying:

Eisenhower High School takes any allegations of violations of students rights seriously. We respect students’ First Amendment right to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The principal says school officials are conducting a thorough investigation.

Shemar's mother says the teacher should be suspended.