India Landry, 17, has filed a civil suit against the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Harris County, Texas, after she was suspended for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. Though she was reinstated days later, Landry and her family plan to move forward with the lawsuit.
It all began when Landry was in the principal’s office of Windfern High School. “The pledge came on, and they both stood, and then I didn’t,” Landry told KHOU News. “[The principal] asked me to, and I said I wouldn’t. And then she said ‘Well, you’re kicked out of here.’”
Landry, a senior, has for years sat during the Pledge of Allegiance as an act of silent protest. “I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that,” Landry said. “It’s not obviously what’s going on in America today.”
Yet this is the first time Landry has been reprimanded for not standing. “[The principal] told India to stand, she said she wouldn’t as she had for a year and a half, through six different teachers,” said Landry’s attorney, Randall Kallinen. “The principal instantaneously kicked her out of school. This violated her First Amendment right.”
Landry’s mother, Kizzy Landry, says that she spoke to the principal over the phone and that the principal told her the reason for the suspension was India’s refusal to stand. Kizzy Landry says she recorded the conversation, but the voice on the tape could not be confirmed as the voice of Windfern High’s principal.
The school district has issued a statement saying, “A student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge.” It plans to handle the matter internally.
Texas law shields public schools from most types of litigation, with the exception of claims involving constitutional rights.
The fervor over the pledge and the national anthem continues after professional athletes in the National Football League kneeled during the anthem in September. Backlash to that has had real consequences for the NFL, with fans burning their season tickets and team merchandise in response. Some analysts suggest the NFL has lost 31 percent of its core fans as a result.
It was the NFL protests that inspired two other Texas teens to make their own statements. Before a game at the end of last month, Larry McCullough, 18, and Cedric Ingram-Lewis, 16, were kicked off their high school football team. McCullough knelt and Lewis raised a fist in the air during the national anthem as an act of protest.
Their coach, Ronnie Fuqua Mitchem, has taken to social media to defend his decision and deny claims he had the players remove their uniforms and pads on the sidelines in front of the crowd.
Some how everybody who was not at the game seems to know what took place. The news media once again has spread fake…
This is just one example of many instances of high school athletes joining the protests first started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Texas high-school players take a knee, get kicked off football team
- How schools are dealing with students taking a knee during the national anthem
- Top administrators out at controversial school where cheerleaders were forced into splits