A south suburban high school driving instructor has been fired after he refused to give lessons to a student who would not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Vince Ziebarth, also known as Mr. Z, worked at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island for eight years—until he told Shemar Cooper, 15, he wasn’t allowed in his car if he would not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Kelly Porter, Shamar’s mother, said her son is politically motivated and was within his rights to express his beliefs. She says Ziebarth forced his beliefs on her son.
“He does not stand because Shemar does not believe in America,” Porter said. “He says America is a very racist country, there is no freedom or love for black people.
Ziebarth explained his side of things to NBC 5.
“I just don’t see how this is controversial, that you stand up just to honor those who gave everything,” he said.
A student started an online petition on Change.org to get Ziebarth his job back.
“This is our time to stick up for him for all the times that he stuck up for us,” said senior Jessica Belseth.
Porter is satisfied with Ziebarth’s firing but says she’d like the school to go even further.
“Make sure that all 1,400 of those students are educated on the First Amendment, at least, if nothing else,” she said.
The school declined to comment on the situation.