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Manatee County teacher removed after berating student for not standing for Pledge of Allegiance

Sarasota Herald-Tribune 9/23/2022 Steven Walker, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Students line up to board a school bus in Manatee County. The district's transportation department is slated to purchase three to five electric school buses for the 2022-2023 school year, replacing some of the fleet's diesel buses. © Mike Lang Students line up to board a school bus in Manatee County. The district's transportation department is slated to purchase three to five electric school buses for the 2022-2023 school year, replacing some of the fleet's diesel buses.

The Manatee County School District removed a teacher from his classroom Wednesday after he yelled at a student for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.

He was removed the same day as the incident and was reassigned to a position where he no longer has contact with students, district spokesperson Michael Barber wrote in an email. The district's investigation is ongoing, he said.

The teacher appeared to be Robert Reiber, a 61-year-old art teacher at Manatee High School, according to a student familiar with the incident. Reiber did not respond to several phone calls and voicemail messages.

A viral TikTok with more than 1 million views showed part of the incident. In the video, the teacher suggests the student, who appears to be Latino, go back to where he came from. He asks the student if he's from Mexico or Guatemala.

"I was born here," the student said.

"You were born here, and you won't stand up for the flag?" the teacher responded.

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In Manatee County, students are required to stand unless they have something in writing from a parent or guardian asking to excuse them, Barber said. However, he said it doesn't excuse the teacher's behavior.

"The School District of Manatee County strongly condemns any language or behavior that degrades, humiliates or insults any individuals – most especially the young people, families, and community we have the privilege of serving," Barber wrote.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Manatee County teacher removed after berating student for not standing for Pledge of Allegiance

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