High school student sues school after Pledge of Allegiance protest

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A high school student in Texas is suing her school, claiming her suspension for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance is a violation of her civil rights.

Over the course of the last school year, India Landry, 17, had been protesting the pledge of allegiance by sitting, down some 200 times instead of standing in respect, in her class at Windfern High School in Houston.

“I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that. It’s not, obviously, what’s going on in America today,” India reportedly said, according to KHOU.

Her lawyer, Randall Kallinen told Houston’s Channel 2 News that it wasn’t until Landry staged her protest in front of the principal that things changed.

Landry was reportedly sent to the principal’s office on Oct. 2 after she was caught texting in class. While there, the pledge was played over the intercom. Landry refused to stand, and the principal sent her home.

“The school secretary said, ‘This ain’t the NFL,’ and the principal said, ‘You have to stand.’ And she said, ‘No, I do not have to stand’ and she was instantaneously kicked out of school,” Kallinen reported. “They told her she could not come back until she stood for the pledge.”

Landry was suspended from school for four days, after which the principal relented and said Landry did not have to stand for the pledge. The following day, according to reports, Landry’s mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against her daughter’s school district and principal.

“Students have a First Amendment right to speak or not to speak and choosing to stand for the pledge is a form of expression. So, the government cannot force you to express yourself when you don’t want to,” Kallinen said.

The school district has a policy which says you don’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but that you must stand unless you have a note from your parents.

In a statement released by the high school, they confirmed that Landry is currently attending classes and said they have not been served with a lawsuit yet.

“Although we have not been served with documentation regarding a lawsuit, we will continue to review this situation internally. The student is currently attending classes at Windfern High School,” the statement read.

According to a statement released by Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, students will no longer be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge. It also reiterated that the matter is being dealt with internally.

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