Teacher Battles MO School After Complaint He Bullied Students Who Wouldn't Stand for Pledge of Allegiance
District says longtime sub dismissed for other reasons.
A former Missouri substitute teacher is fighting to clear his name after being dismissed from his position for bullying students who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rob Schmitt reported Thursday on "Fox & Friends First" on the ongoing dispute between Jim Furkin, 66, and the Parkway School District.
Furkin appeared at a school board meeting Wednesday, where he disputed the district's allegations of past incidents of inappropriate behavior that factored into his dismissal.
"I’ve got a different version of the events than what they've got. Let the public decide who's telling the truth," he told Fox St. Louis after the meeting, adding he does not want his job back.
The incident occurred in November, when Furkin - a longtime substitute teacher in the district - said two high school students declined to stand for the morning Pledge of Allegiance. Furkin said he made a point to thank the students who participated, prompting a complaint and school officials viewed his comment as an act of bullying.
"That flag is not to be taken for granted, in my opinion. It is our symbol of freedom," Furkin said at the time.
In a letter to parents about the incident, the school said each student has a right to decide whether to stand for the Pledge.
The district said Furkin praised the students who stood, causing a "disruption" and that the students who chose not to stand felt "humiliated."
In their decision to dismiss Furkin, the school said there were other incidents involving Furkin, including that he "violated appropriate teacher-to-student interactions by sharing his personal contact information with students" at a different high school.
The district told the local Fox station nothing has changed regarding their original statement on the matter.