A Colorado teacher has been charged with child abuse and third-degree assault after allegedly assaulting a student for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Karen Smith, who has been employed at the Boulder Valley School District for 20 years as a physical education teacher, was placed on paid leave on Feb. 1 after she was accused of forcibly lifting a student to his feet by his jacket when he refused to stand for the pledge. That student, who has not been named because he is a minor, was then removed from the classroom by Smith, according to The Daily Camera.
On Wednesday, the Boulder County District Attorney’s office announced formal charges against Smith.
Principal Mike Medina sent a letter to students’ parents to update them on the investigation.
“I, again, want to reaffirm that our focus remains firmly on our students,” Medina said in the letter.
Both of Smith’s charges are misdemeanors, and she was released Wednesday with a summons following her processing.
A 1943 Supreme Court decision ruled that students can not be compelled to salute or stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, citing the the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.