A High School Student Is Taking Action After Being Kicked Out For Sitting During The Pledge

"I wouldn’t stand because it goes against everything I believe in."

India Landry, a high school senior at Windfern High School in Houston, Texas has chosen to remain seated during the Pledge of Allegiance for years, but in light of the recent nationwide #TakeAKnee controversy, Landry says the action (or rather, the inaction) lead to her suspension on October 2. Now she's suing the school district for violating her rights.

KHOU reports Landry was asked to leave school last Monday after failing to stand for the pledge in the presence of her principal, Martha Strother, and was suspended through last Thursday, October 5. Landry was allowed to attend classes the following day, October 6, but tells the New York Daily News she now feels "uncomfortable."

Explaining why she has opted to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance for several years, Landry told KHOU, "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."

The teen added, "I wouldn't stand because it goes against everything I believe in," and recalls how Strother allegedly told her she'd be "kicked out" of school because of her failure to rise for the  Pledge of Allegiance.


As reported by the New York Daily News, the subsequent federal lawsuit filed by Landry and her family against the Cypress Fairbanks ISD school district states that, under protection of the First Amendment, students cannot be forced to stand for the pledge. In other words, the school had no right to suspend Landry. 

Per The Washington Post, the Supreme Court ruled in W. Va. Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) that the government — including public schools — can't require students to participate in the pledge.

The lawsuit also says the school only decided to punish Landry because administrators had "recently been whipped into a frenzy" by the controversy caused by NFL players kneeling for the national anthem. The act of resistance started in 2016 with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and has since spread throughout the league, irking Americans who claim the gesture is unpatriotic as well as those in the current administration.

Vice President Mike Pence abruptly left the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers game in Indianapolis this past weekend when several players took a knee for the national anthem. "I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence later said in a statement. "While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem."

Though Landry feared the recent suspension would keep her from graduating in a few months, the school district has seemingly walked back their earlier decision. In a statement to KHOU a spokesperson said, "A student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge. We will address this situation internally." Despite that, Landry has said she continues to move forward with the lawsuit.

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