Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K.: Teacher caught on tape pulling chair from under student refusing to stand for national anthem

Monday, March 21, 2005

Teacher caught on tape pulling chair from under student refusing to stand for national anthem

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A student named Jay (who wants his last name to be withheld) at Brick Township High School in New Jersey, had his chair pulled out from under him after he refused to stand for the national anthem. The class started out that morning with Mantel yelling "I don't want to hear a sound! Not a sound! Morning exercises will come on, you will stand, you will stand quietly, you will pay attention! Any Questions!?...Now stand up and keep your mouths shut!" Students stood up as the national anthem began playing.
In the middle of the anthem, Mantel walked over to Jay and demanded that he stand up. Jay silently refused, and Mantel yelled again, "Stand up!". Jay then said "I don't have to stand up". To which Mantel insisted "You have to stand." Jay said "No I don't". Mantel then reached over and pulled Jay's chair out from under him. Jay responded to Stuart Mantel's outrageous behavior by asking Mantel "Are you serious?", to which Mantel yelled "I am damn well serious."
Jay said that he didn't have any political reasons for his refusal to stand but that he wanted to sit because he feels it is his right to do so and that right was being threatened by Mantel. Jay said that he thought Mantel might tell him to stand, but he never expected to be physically forced to do so.
Jay's friend who was in the class at the time, Corey, says that their teacher had been strict in the past in demanding that students stand for the national anthem and pledge of allegiance. That's why they brought in a camera - to expose the teacher in case he did anything again. "The teacher and school principals wanted him (Mantel) to press charges against us...they tried to blame it on us like it was premeditated, like we did it just to get him on tape, which is false. We knew he was gonna go nuts because he frequently used to" said Corey.
Jay's other classmate Steve got suspended for 10 days for filming the incident. The school told Corey that it "violated the teacher's constitutional rights" for them to film the teacher without his permission."I think that its crazy that people are getting in trouble for this or things they say. There have been so many kids video taping and no one ever got in trouble for it. So why now?" Jay asked. It sounds as if the school is punishing this student now because of the nature of what's on the tape, not the fact they were taping the teacher without his permission.
When I asked Corey if Mantel was being punished for pulling out Jay's chair, he said "Nope...I asked (the principal) 'What are you doing to discipline Mantel?' and they said 'we talked'. Teachers do anything they want". Seeing acts like Mantel's go unpunished will likely inspire teachers to continue intimidating their students into standing for the national anthem and pledge of allegiance.

If you would like to let Brick Schools know how you feel about their handling of this situation, you may contact them here:

Brick Township Public Schools
Board of Education
101 Hendrickson Ave
Brick, NJ 08723
732-785-3000

Brick Township High School
346 Chambers Bridge Road
Brick, NJ 08723
(732)262-2500