In a small but significant victory, the Fairfax County Virginia School District sided with a 15-year-old high school student who was disciplined by his teacher for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom, The Washington Post reported.

“The country is in a very divided place right now and there’s a lot of injustices around the U.S. I feel like me sitting can spread awareness to that. I don’t believe in forcing other people to sit. . . . That’s just a personal decision,” said Eric Trammel, who was inspired to protest the Pledge after viewing Black Lives Matter social media material in the eighth-grade.

The Centreville High School student didn’t win a Supreme Court case or step onto the national stage like NFL protesters do on Sundays to take a knee during the National Anthem. He quietly but firmly demanded to exercise his right to protest systemic racial bias in the criminal justice system. Yet, his courage in standing up to a teacher who bullied him is inspirational and in many ways on the same level of Colin Kaepernick who has withstood personal attacks from President Donald Trump and getting blackballed from the NFL.

Eric has chosen to sit during the pledge for more than a year at his high school when a teacher decided one day to reprimand him. The teacher yelled at him to stand, yanked him from his seat and shoved him out the door. The student stood outside for about 20 minutes before knocking on the door and asking to return to the classroom. He told Eric that “this isn’t the NFL,” adding that he is banned from returning until he agreed to stand for the pledge. After an investigation, it was the teacher who was permanently removed.

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