JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CBS Local) — A high school teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, has been removed after he wrote a message on his classroom board admonishing students who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem, according to authorities. The message included historical references including slavery, the right for women to vote and the election of a black president, said a spokesperson for the Duval County Public Schools. The message also referenced the fact that the superintendent and principal are black.
Photos on social media show the handwritten note on a whiteboard at First Coast High School, which is addressed to “homeroom” and signed by “Mr. G.”
“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for “white” and “colored,” as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president, the superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man, Mr. Simmons, who is now a D.C.P.S. administrator.
“MY POINT? You are all extremely lucky to be living in the U.S.A. If you refuse to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem, are you revealing maturity and wisdom? Actually, you are displaying the opposite. (As some pampered arrogant celebrities and athletes tend to do.)”
This message got a #Jacksonville HS teacher removed from the classroom.
DCPS says it was written scolding students who didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. It mentions the Civil War, slavery, women's voting rights, election of President Obama, & more. #News #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/7YzwQRIU8i
— Ryan Nelson (@RyanANJax) August 15, 2019
“The message basically was [targeting] black kids and women,” the mother of a student who took a picture of the message told CBS affiliate WJAX. “That was just very, very, poor communication, especially to the black kids and especially to the women, or the young ladies, in that class.”
The teacher, identified as Daniel Goodman, said he did not intend to offend anyone. He told WJAX none of his homeroom students stood for the pledge in the first two days of school and that prompted him to share his perspective on what he considered signs of progress throughout American history.
Florida law and the district’s Code of Student Conduct permits students to be excused from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and standing if the student’s parent or legal guardian files a written request.
The school referred the matter to the district’s Office of Professional Standards for review.