Child Slapped by Woman During National Anthem

Volunteers Rachel Gonzalez-Howard with her daughter Jessica

Volunteers Rachel Gonzalez-Howard with her daughter Jessica

By: Sharon Aron Baron

A family alleges a woman slapped their child who didn’t place her hand over her heart during the National Anthem as well as accusing her of not being an American citizen while she volunteered at a City-sponsored 9/11 Remembrance race on Saturday.

Rachel Gonzalez-Howard is a second generation Mexican-American who said she is very patriotic.  Every year, she is the head volunteer for the 5k event along with her 11 year-old daughter, Jessica, who gives out water to the finishers and medals and T-shirts to the winners.

“My daughter loves to volunteer,” said Howard. “You can usually find us at 5k’s because my husband, her father, is a runner.

This year, Jessica was up at 4:30 a.m. excited for it to begin.  Since it was the 15th year 9/11 Remembrance 5K, they spent extra time coordinating their red, white and blue outfits and Jessica wore her American flag shaped owl shirt.

As the National Anthem started, Howard was standing in front of both her daughter and her husband. When the song was over, she turned and saw Jessica crying and asked what was wrong.

“That lady next to me yelled at me because I didn’t have my hand on my heart,” she said and added, “First she asked me if I was a citizen of the United States, then she yelled at me and kept yelling for being disrespectful.”

“I didn’t get it,” said Howard. “Disrespectful, for just standing there? I kept my cool, but seeing my child cry because of someone yelling at her was a bit much.”

Howard walked over to the woman and reminded her that this was this wasn’t a Communist country.

“If my daughter wants to sit down, kneel or show total lack of respect, she can because this is a country where men and women fought for our freedom. However, my daughter was showing respect –  as she was taught.”

Howard walked away to calm herself down, but later Jessica confessed to her mother that the woman slapped her arm “really hard,” then asked her those questions.

“I went back to confront the woman, but that’s when my husband stopped me knowing that I would get myself into trouble. That’s when he went to the officer that was there for the race.”

Her husband spoke to a Coral Springs Police Officer on duty who said he was going to speak to with the race director. But it was too late.  The woman was gone.

They do know this: the woman, 75, volunteered at the raffle table, was wearing full makeup, a nice hairstyle with highlights. Her daughter, also a volunteer, in her 50’s later approached Howard.

“She apologized for her mother and kept saying ‘she’s 75’ and that she should be excused for that.”

Race Director Kelle Burke approached the family and immediately apologized to Jessica which meant a lot to them, she said.

“Again I’m just so frustrated this happened, especially to my family. I mean come on, we are at a 5k honoring the people and everyone that was affected by the events of 9/11 –  volunteering.”

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.


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  • Tjb

    Is this is type of aggression the NEW “Make American Great Again” ?

    • John Steel

      Wow, that’s a stretch.

      • DeathStarVentDesignersLLC

        Stretch? Not at all. It’s the reality that many people see in their daily lives thanks to ignorant bigots spreading garbage all over the place.

      • LH

        Not that far of a stretch. The entire premise of “Make America Great Again” is built upon hostility towards Mexicans and fear/anger against Muslims. This is a small taste of the aggression that is to come and has already begun for these minority communities in America.

        • lisamanv .

          So true. Now the people who claim he says what they are thinking are going to start saying it themselves.

        • John Steel

          Hey dumbass there is a difference between Mexicans and Illegal Aliens and a difference between Muslims and radical Islamic Terrorists.

          • tjbees

            Looking at your other comments on previous posts… it looks like you could be a racist.

          • John Steel

            A badge of pride coming form a liberal, remember I am also deplorable.

          • Tjb

            You are correct. But are you a racist or not?

        • John Steel

          There is a difference between Mexicans and Illegal Aliens and a difference between Muslims and radical Islamic Terrorists.

          • Thanks for that vital information, Mr. Steel. Now please share it with Mr. Trump and his idiot followers. They seem to have missed the memo.

      • lisamanv .

        No it isn’t.

      • whatgop

        John Steel, no that is not a stretch, would you like me to send you links of what Trump has said at his rallies or what his supporters have said at his rallies? Pretending that it doesn’t happen at his rallies will not make the conduct of this woman or others go away.

    • Jane

      Sounds like it! We sure know who the 75-year-old is voting for. I really hope this senior citizen isn’t driving anymore. If she can’t show self control over something like this, I wonder how she would react behind the wheel if someone pisses her off…

  • David

    You are supposed to cross your heart when you say the Pledge of Allegence because you are making a promise. The Boy Scouts taught us in the Seventies to stand up and remove it our hat out of respect for the National Anthem. George W. Bush started the whole cross your heart for the National Anthem movement. Alas, tradition has changed.

    • whatgop

      “You are supposed to cross your heart”, is there a law that requires this?

  • 97823h

    Rachel Gonzalez-Howard: It’s time to have a serious conversation about racism with your daughter. She’s Hispanic, she’s going to face more of it. Give her the mental arsenal she’ll need to withstand the idiots of the world.

    • whatgop

      Rachel Gonzalez-Howard, thank you for having the intelligence not to engage the old bat, some of them get a charge out of feeling superior, but in her case evidence proves otherwise.


    I’m sorry, just because the woman is 75… Which these days is not that old , does not give her the right to slap a child because she freaking feels like it. Sorry the 11 year old had to deal with a B* of an older woman and clearly the woman’s daughter who feels like her mom is excused for her actions.

  • lisamanv .

    That is about the age of my mother-in-law who loves Trump and is really angry at Colin K.

  • Samantha Gur

    Hope they find her and charge her with assault/abuse of a minor. COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE behavior. They should also sue her in civil court for damages caused by mental trauma and pain and suffering. We can’t let people get away with this BS just because they’re “elderly.” If this was the other way around and An adult assaulted the elderly person you bet they would be charges!

    • Lesley123

      I agree. Her behavior was reprehensible and charges need to be filed. She assaulted a child and needs to be charged accordingly.

  • Harley Quinn

    Next time make sure that your daughter stands in front of you. And send her to some martial art training so if in the future someone hits her she will break their arms.

  • Lesley123

    Age is not an excuse for that type of behavior. She’s damn lucky she didn’t lay a hand on my child. She’d require and ER visit if she had.

  • Lesley123

    She’s VERY lucky that wasn’t my kid.

  • HeisenBoss

    The girl should be able to slap the old windbag back. Fair’s fair right?

    • Lesley123


  • Barb

    I would imagine she tapped the girl on her arm to get her attention…does everything have to be blown out of proportion all the time. Since when are you not allowed to talk to people. That’s how kids learn, I would not have had a problem with it.

    • Lesley123

      Then I suppose if a person felt like “tapping” you on the arm, then screaming at you, you’d be fine with that too? There’s. NO. EXCUSE. She needs to be charged with assault.

    • Tjb

      I imagine that a unicorn tapped her arm. How did you determine it could have been a tap and not a slap? Did you see the unicorn also?

  • Fred

    Pledge/anthem Nazis. I hate pledge/anthem Nazis.

  • My2c

    This reminds me of something that happened to me when I was in the 10th grade. I remember I was having a difficult day and so was completely distracted. As I was trying to figure out how to solve this monumental problem and out of touch with reality (haha), I didn’t even notice that we’d started the pledge. All of sudden I hear the teacher shout my name really loudly and say GET UP! I did immediately and “came back to earth” (haha). After the pledge the teacher started to berate me in front of all my classmates and lecture me in a completely humiliating fashion. This was the first time that I had unintentionally done something like that. I had always stood and recited the pledge respectfully, so it’s not like I was reluctant to do so. I found his behavior completely out of line, resented the teacher and started hating his class with every cell of my being. He used me to boast about what he thought was his stellar patriotism, but as a teacher had zero common sense and understanding of motivation and adolescent psychology.

    Putting on a show and looking pretty during traditional ceremonies do not make one a good citizen. It is the intent of the heart, and the choices and actions a person takes that contribute to the quality of his/her country. The kid in question and her mom were volunteering at an event to honor the victims of 9/11. That to me is an ACTION that shows good citizenship on their part.

  • perturbed(means anxious)

    old lady should be arrested. age is not an excuse for an assault on a child that is not yours