A cellphone video of a Manatee High School teacher berating a student for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance has gone viral on social media.
In the video, art teacher Robert Reiber is standing a few feet from the student — who is sitting at a desk — and yelling, leaning toward the student and using arm gestures to emphasize what he’s saying.
The video starts mid-sentence, “... to defend our country and you are gonna sit there on your butt!”
“Don’t shake your leg,” Reiber tells the student. “If you wanna do something, get up and do it. I’ll defend my country til the very end.”
The student says, “I won’t hurt you.”
“Then go back to — where are you from Mexico or Guatemala, where?”
“I was born here,” the student says.
“You were born here,” Reiber says, “and you won’t stand up for the flag?”
School District of Manatee County spokesman Michael Barber said in an emailed statement that the teacher was removed from the school that day and no longer has contact with students.
“The school district’s Office of Professional Standards is thoroughly investigating the incident in accordance with district and state due process policies and procedures,” the statement continued.
“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.”