UPDATE: Will Phillips appeared on CNN Monday morning with his father, Jay, to discuss his refusal to say the pledge of allegiance.
"I've grown up with a lot of people and I'm good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I'm not going to swear that they do," the ten-year-old Phillips said.
Jay Phillips, asked if his son was prepared for the media attention, said his son saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness. "He felt that just because he's ten years old doesn't mean he doesn't have opinions, doesn't mean he doesn't have rights, and doesn't mean he can't make a difference."
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"I've always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer," Will said. "I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all."
After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will's mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day.
A columnist for the Arkansas News has stood up for Phillips against his angry substitute teacher. Predictably, fellow students have taunted the kid and called him a "gaywad," but he says he doesn't see his quiet act of protest ending any time soon.