He’s got a small voice, and he’s just one kid, but 10-year-old Arkansas fifth grader (he skipped a grade) Will Phillips might as well have Barack Obama’s ear as much as Joe Solmonese. That’s because Phillips, who’s already aware of the gay rights struggle at such a young age, is making a small stand against a nation with discriminatory policies on the books: he’s refusing to recite the Pledge Of Allegiance at school.
He wouldn’t do it when the substitute teacher asked him. And he’s not about to start now, even if other kids are, predictably, teasing him over his stance.
Given that his protest is over the rights of gays and lesbians, the taunts have taken a predictable bent. “In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they’ve been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay,” he said. “It’s always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad.”
Even so, Will said that he can’t foresee anything in the near future that will make him stand for the pledge. To help him deal with the peer pressure, his parents have printed off posts in his support on blogs and websites. “We’ve told him that people here might not support you, but we’ve shown him there are people all over that support you,” [his mother Laura] Phillips said. “It’s really frustrating to him that people are being so immature.”