Texas High School Students Sue to Protest Pledge of Allegiance
Two Texas teenagers are separately suing their schools for their right to sit through the Pledge of Allegiance in protest. The students claim teachers and administrators violated their constitutional rights by punishing and ostracizing them for sitting through recitation of the pledge, The New York Times reported.
The students, both in the Houston area, allege they’ve received harsh treatment from teachers and administrators in recent months following their protests. One school denied the claims and the second said it could not comment on potential lawsuits.
India Landry and another teenager, identified only by her initials, M.O., said they were protesting because the nation failed to uphold the promise of the pledge.
“The first reason I sit is because obviously it is my constitutional right, but I also believe that we live in a country where there isn’t justice and freedom for all and so I’m not going to stand for a pledge that says there is when there really isn’t,” the teen identified as M.O. said in a news conference last week.
She began sitting for the pledge her freshman year at Klein Oak High School in 2014 and says teachers have compared her to communists and said she should leave the country. Now in her senior year, she and her mother say pleas for help to administrators have done nothing, and have filed a federal lawsuit against nine school and district officials and the district itself, KPRC, a local TV station reported.
Landry began protesting a year and a half ago and was mostly left alone until earlier this month. Landry was in the principal’s office at Windfern High School when the ledge came on over the loudspeaker. When the principal and a secretary in the room stood and asked Landry to join them, she refused. When the pledge was over the principal, Martha Strother expelled Landry, the lawsuit alleges, according to the Times.
“She asked me to [stand], and I said I wouldn’t,” Landry said, KHOU, a local TV station reported. “And she said ‘Well, you’re kicked out of here.'”
According to the lawsuit, the secretary allegedly said, “This is not the N.F.L.,” referring to recent protests by NFL players who take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem.
After Landry’s story aired on KHOU, Strother reversed her decision and allowed Landry to return to school, the Times reported.