LAFAYETTE, Colo. (CBS4) – A Boulder Valley School District teacher now faces child abuse and assault charges for allegedly forcing a child to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Karen Smith, a physical education teacher at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, was placed on leave earlier this month.

Karen Smith (credit: Lafayette Police)

Police say on Feb. 1, Smith grabbed a boy by his jacket, lifting him to his feet, and took him out of class.

A parent waiting to pick her child up at Angevine recently told CBS4 that her daughter knows Smith as a “strict” teacher but has never had an issue.

Angevine Middle School (credit: CBS)

The school district released a new letter which was sent to parents on Tuesday:

Boulder Valley School District Statement

Today we learned that the Boulder County District Attorney’s office has formally charged Angevine Middle School Physical Education Teacher Karen Smith. Ms. Smith has served Boulder Valley School District for 20 years and is currently on paid administrative leave.

We are cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office and respect their decision on this matter. We are unable to comment further because it remains a personnel matter that the school district is actively investigating.

Comments (115)
  1. Mari Eccles says:

    I have a few problems–first I think charging this as child abuse is going way overboard. We have real cases of children being tortured and killed; when we start including incidents like this as abuse we are blurring the line to the point that we are basically just deciding on a whim what is and isn’t acceptable. This is what is causing so many innocent people to be incriminated and so many monsters to just go free. Second while I believe in following rules and I totally think we should stand for the pledge–I believe it is a privilege and not a law. She was wrong in handling it this way but I think charging her with abuse and assault are too extreme.

  2. Jeff Nesseth says:

    I wonder if those seeking immigration citizenship would stand for the pledge of allegiance in city hall class and put their hand over their heart? I’m sure they will fake it if they hate this country.

  3. Tom Corey says:

    Fire the hag, and throw the book at her. If she thinks that manhandling a child and trying to forcibly violate his First Amendment rights are acceptable behavior, then she has no place working with children. Or in decent American society for that matter.

  4. Phil Jayhan says:

    If they are going to be this strict and unreasonably harsh with teachers only trying to do their jobs, then I suggest that Rule Changes in handling children need to occur.

    I have the perfect Rule change for disobedient children in class. They either do what the Teacher says, or they face a 5 day suspension. Period.

    1. So when the Teacher orders kids to study Islamic Commentaries to Marxist Social Theories and write an essay glorifying Father Stalin and Mother Russia, that should be okay?

  5. Boulder needs a new District Attorney….

  6. Mike Loewen says:

    Boulder County DA – “We are the radical loony left and we will weaponize agencies of the government to terrorize you into submission.”

  7. I always stand for the national anthem, but since standing for anthem is taking an oath/pledge public schools cannot require it because of the Ben Franklyn exception in the US Constitution. The teacher as a public employee violated her oath/affirmation of office Government including public schools cannot make you take an oath/pledge. Franklyn’s religion did not allow him to take oaths that is why under the US Constitution you can affirm to tell the truth in court instead swearing to tell the truth and you can decline to take a pledge or stand for the anthem when the government asks which is another type of oath. However private schools and private corporations like the NFL can make students/ employees stand or expel/fire them if they refuse.

  8. Barry Jaeger says:

    So she pulled this disrespectful little brat to his feet and that is assault in Colorado.
    So children in Colorado can do pretty much whatever they want and the state supports them in disrespect, antisocial behavior and just disrupting as the mood strikes them.
    They are creating a whole generation of kids that will end up behaving like the one in Florida because they just feel like it.

  9. They should force all children to stand for the national anthem… In China if you don’t stand for the national anthem, it is 3 year prison sentence.

  10. Guy Baker says:

    Leave this teacher alone.

    The idiotic whining heard across the country is PATHETIC.

  11. Lilly Belle says:

    This woman should receive a medal and be awarded Teacher of the Year. Sadly, she will be fired and be forced to retire early on a reduced pension. That’s American for you.

  12. Abuse? When left wing zealots fling the word “Abuse” around it minimizes what abuse really means. She made a rebellious brat stand, it’s not abuse. Raising a generation of cotton candy softies who will devolve our society into a cesspool of raging entitlement

  13. How terrible to demand that a child stand and show respect toward our nation and flag.

    1. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students could not be forced to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag. That particular case involved religion — Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in pledging to an entity other than their god. There are other sects that hold the same belief.
      The Supremes also have ruled that students do not surrender their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. If a student does not wish to participate, he can’t be forced. He is exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, which also means the right to choose not to participate in the pledge.
      It’s fairly simple. A kid can’t be coerced or forced to participate — whether it’s on religious or other grounds. A teacher, who is an adult — or supposed to be — should realize this and not physically handle a student to compel participation if it is his choice not to.
      Say that school prayer was legal. If a teacher grabbed a Protestant student by his arm because he wouldn’t participate in a Catholic prayer, I bet fundamentalist Christians would back the kid in that situation 100 percent and call for the teacher’s prosecution, as well they should.
      Same principle applies here.
      There’s nothing wrong with allowing students who wish to say the pledge. Just like students have the right to read the Bible, or Quran or the Upanishads during their own time during school hours, and to have religious clubs in which they freely take part, and even to proselytize at times that it does not disrupt instructional time or the function of the school — so blocking the hallway to preach to other students would not be allowed.

  14. If anyone believes the teacher is wrong then they would have to believe that courts are wrong for requiring people stand when the judge enters the courtroom. —-when will this madness end????

    1. Okay, why should I be required to stand when another man or woman enters a room? Yes, I think it’s wrong for the government to require that too.

  15. It is a public school paid for by taxpayers. It is reasonable to require a student to stand for the pledge of allegiance in a public school. It is also reasonable for a teacher or administrator to assist a student to stand up. No assault was committed. The teacher should be complimented for doing her job and enforcing the law and school policy.

    1. This is long established law dating to 1943. The same freedoms that allow some of you to call the boy names and support using violence against him is the freedom that allows him not to say the pledge or even stand for it.

      I’m glad you’re patriotic but why insist everyone else is? If you want to say the pledge, say the pledge but don’t make every one else give up their freedom. Do you know how it looks to be advocating to deny this young man his protected freedoms? This country was founded for freedom and that is wasted on many of you.

      How is it that the 20 year veteran teacher did not know the young man cannot be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance or be forced to stand. Then she, “grabbed a boy by his jacket, lifting him to his feet”. That does not sound like the proper way to handle someone’s child that is not your own. Particularly when she is using that violence to deny his constitutionally protected rights.

  16. Was the teacher wrong to pull the student up by his jacket and force him to stand? Yes, O.K.
    Is this child abuse? No. At best, it was an embarrassment to the kid.
    Everything is an outrage to liberals. They need to grow a layer of skin.

  17. That’s right – force these little liberals to be patriotic or beat them. That’s what makes America great. What’s the difference between the Afgan Taliban and the American Taliban? Nothing!!!

  18. When I was in high school, failing to follow a teachers instructions meant a trip to the principal’s office where he had a 3 foot long paddle with holes drilled in it. Most students didn’t want a second visit.
    Reintroducing this policy would solve a lot of school problems today!

  19. Chuck Yates says:

    Start a gofundme for this teacher.

  20. Ted Hampton says:

    Thank goodness the teacher didn’t call the kid a spoiled brat, she could have been charged with hate speech as well. Isn’t that a felony and punishable by death or imprisonment?

  21. Looks like another Dreamer baby story.

  22. The idea that people should be forced to partake in flag a worshiping ritual is something you would expect to find in North Korea, not in a supposedly free country.

  23. Tod Perry says:

    You notice the reporter INTENTIONALLY left out the part where the teacher probably asked the student to step outside during the Anthem if he did not want to stand and the student more then likely refused and if this is the case I AGREE with the teachers actions.
    They always try to make the people who love our country out to be the bad by leaving out certain parts of the story

  24. I was required to say the pledge, am an Eagle Scout, and served this country proudly. How oppressive that must seem to some. USMC 72-76

  25. Steve Avery says:

    She should get a medal. The left loves to politicize kids. It’s shameful.

  26. Wow, ain’t it amazing that when I was in K-12 teachers verbally admonished , paddled , or “put you in your place ” , so to speak. As I reflect , we ‘boomers’ became a successful generation having been criticized for inappropriate conduct , and then the PC culture appeared. Now we have “snowflakes” , “safe spaces” , “denied freedom of speech”, parental arrests / teacher arrests for disciplining a child and the pervasive CPS gestapo knowing best, teachers getting punched out, disrespect for the flag/ country that a large volume of the world’s population would give their life to get here—and when they do they spit on US. I know I’ll get flashback —surprise I can take it. Hit me with your best shots!

  27. Ken Green says:

    A clear violation of the destroy America first policy. Pledging allegiance to your country? In 2018?

  28. Children in school should be made to mind. Children in school should not be given the opportunity to display political speech since they are not adults and have not reached the age of reason or consent. Allowing children to act in any way they wish is a problem the left has given us by denying corporal punishment in schools, by forcing No Child Left Behind on us, and has given rise to behavior like that in this article, as well as this one:

    Children should be raised in a manner to respect their elders. Children should be raised in a manner that causes them to respect (but not be slavish to) authority. If these things do not happen, then chaos ensues, as CHILDREN do not have the maturity to handle adult concepts. Apparently, neither does the left. This teacher should have been able to compel this child to stand, or send it to the office where it could have been appropriately corrected, or sent home for the parents to do so.

  29. Becky Want says:

    Back when the vast majority of Americans grew up to be responsible, mature adults, this would have been common procedure for being disrespectful to the flag or anything else. Sadly, in this day and age, when 1/3 of kids grow up to be a burden to the rest of society, we are just expected to let kids act however they choose in any situation.

  30. You can thank the NFL, Baroke Oblahblah, Eric Colder, and the entire Bowel movements matter crowd for this. The Teacher should get a medal.

    1. Americans, kids and adults, have been refusing for religious reasons to stand or recite the pledge since there has been a pledge (some time in the 1870s, IIRC). Some Christian sects hold that it is against their beliefs to pledge to some entity other than their god.
      This issue is one of speech as well as religion. A student’s free speech rights includes the right not to be forced to recite words or stand at attention while other students do so.
      Free speech rights exist to protect unpopular speech, because popular speech, by its very definition, requires no such protections.

  31. Don’t make him stand. Knock his dumbazz out cold.

  32. Bart Moran says:

    I miss my country.

    This would never be news when our parents were Baby Boomers and we were in school. All this feel good, PC, express yourself stuff is making the USA fall further and further behind. Most employers don’t care about your ability to self-express. They care about following the norms, customs, rules and policies. Those traits ensure things get done and profits are made.

    1. Yeah, this never would have happened in your day – except for the fact that it did.

      I know facts are anathema to reactionary regressives like yourself, but children have been refusing to stand for the Pledge for as long as there has been a Pledge. That you didn’t hear about it doesn’t change that fact. The reason we know that forcing children to stand and recite is unconstitutional is because two young girls way back in 1943 refused to recite the Pledge and were expelled as a result—and the subsequent case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

  33. John Lamont says:

    Please end the public’s school system. I’m tired of paying for a failed system. THis teacher is a strict and seasoned vet in the teaching area. If she I said not allowed to do her job then shut the system down. All children need discipline. The world is insane.

  34. Really? Abuse? By forcing a kid to stand out of respect. Wow, what pansies the liberal left has become.

  35. Dan Tige says:

    Just ignore students who don’t wish to participate… and keep ignoring them. No questions; no answers. If they can’t respect their country, they should be shown a reciprocal level of respect.

  36. These damn brats need a good whipping on their bare butt to learn to behave.

  37. The decline and fall of the American empire have started.
    Just surprised that the school still flies the American flag. Thought the Board had it removed years ago due to or because of the ACLU!

    btw, if I was on a jury to decide the teacher’s guilt, this would be tossed out. No crime was committed.

  38. AND>>>>>>>>This is why GREAT TEACHERS are leaving the profession.
    Who needs this garbage on their work record?
    If as a parent, YOUR LITTLE ANGEL needs to be independent and not follow the rules, then HOMESCHOOL. In my youth, disrupters were disciplined and thrown out of school if they could not behave.
    You CAN NOT TEACH a class that is not behaving.
    The parents must be as self centered as the brat.
    Nowadays school it is nothing more than DAYCARE for teen toddlers who won’t grow up. Look at the Colleges-banning any speech that is not lefty liberal ideology. Young adult toddlers throwing tantrums.

  39. The parents of this kid have no place living in this country! Liberal fascist freaks!!!!! Send their a$$es to Venezuela where freaks like this belong…they can take their grimy little kid with them!

    1. Sure, right after you move to North Korea, where you belong.

    2. If you have no respect for other people’s rights and freedoms, then it is you who should leave the country. Also, fascism is a jingoist right wing ideology, the sort of one that would mandate allegiance to a flag.

    3. Tom Corey says:

      Someone knows and exercises their rights under the First Amendment, so they must be ‘Liberal fascist freaks’?
      You do realize that fascism, by definition, is a far *right* ideology, don’t you?
      No, of course you don’t. You just think screaming names at people is a valid response to anything you don’t like.

  40. lynnemarino says:

    I would never be a teacher or a policeman these days.

  41. I am more amazed they even had the pledge. IN California where my kids went they did away with that years ago. The peoples republic is up and running on the west coast.

  42. Philip James says:

    She grew up and has been teaching in a real world and now society has gone completely wacko around her and all around her it is bizarro world. I feel sorry for her but the nutjobs will win and the board will get rid of her and bring in a zombie progressive teacher to replace her.
    Glad I am old and children grown because if my kid was in a school like this or others, I would probably be jailed for objecting to this fascist nonsense.

  43. Holy Cow! This teacher was not abusing the kid and no assault either. When I was a kid in school a teacher would be able to paddle you, make you sit in the corner and go to the principal’s office. And I grew up pretty well. Oh, well, guess not, I am here sitting at the computer commenting on some stupid article that should have never made the news in the first place.

    1. Scott Mark says:

      You seem to ignore the 1943 SCOTUS ruling on this issue. Do you respect the constitution or not?

      1. To Mark Scott: Sometimes the SCOTUS gets it wrong i.e. Roe vs Wade, and just because a SCOTUS decision is made does not make it a Constitutional Amendment!

      2. Scott, the article said that the student refused the teacher’s request to stand up – not pledge allegiance or whatever. I think that is a reasonable demand by a teacher attempting to maintain order in a school setting, don’t you? Don’t you think it important to maintain order in a school?

      3. Oh yes, the Supreme Court is so reliable.

        In the early 1800s, the Court actually knew some of the Constitutional authors, declared that ‘not only was the Bible permitted in schools, it was recommended.’
        A hundred years or so later, they reinterpreted that ruling according to their own biases.

        And, then, I suppose you agree with the court on the Dred Scott decision?

        Yeah, the Supreme Court is so infallible… the popes of the judicial system.

      4. Nope, the Supreme Court definitely isn’t infallible, but this is an example of them getting it right. If you can’t distinguish between the Dred Scott decision and a law saying that children can’t be compelled to pledge allegiance to the state—something that happens all the time in communist countries, and which was a hallmark of education in Nazi Germany—then your moral compass is hopelessly broken. It’s the difference between freedom being taken away and freedom being granted.

        Also, for the record: Saying “they’ve been wrong before” isn’t an intelligent rebuttal. So far, the only argument you’ve provided against the Court’s judgment is that children not standing hurts your delicate feelings.

    2. The legal definition of “assault” is: “a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension (see apprehension 1) of such harm or contact.” The teacher inflicted “offensive physical contact” on the student by grabbing his coat and lifting him to his feet. That’s the law.

  44. I was A Boy Scout leader. When my authority was challenged I addressed the largest 15 yr old in the group, grabbed his shirt with my fist and jacked him up against the wall and let him know that I was in charge. Next meeting I was confronted by his mother and uncle. My response…You want me to take your son on hiking camping and canoeing trips then he needs to know I’m in charge and he does what I say. And, I didn’t do anything to your son that I wouldn’t do to my own…That boy got a whooping from his uncle.

    1. Tom Corey says:

      So many wonderful things you could have taught those scouts, but all they learned was that bullying and physical violence by authority figures were acceptable. Disgusting.

  45. Pei Tsing says:

    Like to see president trump offer to get her a lawyer

  46. Nope. You will stand for the Pledge, and not be some little alt-Left fascist pig, or get the he|| out of my classroom.

  47. Fred Sherman says:

    Some of the comments here are truly frightening. We have passed the tipping point and the long slide to socialism in inevitable. The leftist-socialist doctrinarian through the education system has succeeded. GenX and the Millennials will implement that socialist utopia.

    1. Joe Johnson says:

      Correction, add one word: “….SUPPOSED socialist utopia.”

    2. If you find the idea that people can practice rights and freedoms that you might not agree with to be “frightening”, then this isn’t the country for you. Perhaps you should move to one more suitable to your tastes, such as Iran or N. Korea.

    3. You know the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist activist, right?

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