A Texas high school student who was expelled for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance has sued her local school district and principal, saying it violated her civil rights.
India Landry, 17, began her silent protest of the pledge last school year, her attorney told Houston’s Channel 2 News, sitting down “some 200 times.”
But everything changed on Monday, Oct. 2, when she was sent to the principal’s office for texting in class. When the pledge began over the intercom, school officials took notice and sent her home, said Landry’s attorney, Randall Kallinen.
“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. They told her she could not come back until she stood for the pledge,” Kallinen said.
Landry was suspended from Windfern High School for four days before the principal changed her mind and informed Landry that she could remain seated during the pledge.
“Friday morning, she calls back and said India does not have to stand for the pledge and India went back to school that very day,” Kallinen said.
The following day, Landry’s mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District and the school 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.
At another Texas high school, two football players were kicked off their team for kneeling during the anthem last month.
NFL protests against police brutality started over a year ago with Colin Kaepernick, but escalated last month when President Donald Trump waded deep into the issue with a rant against the mostly black athletes protesting.
Trump said that NFL owners should fire athletes who protested and called players who knelt during the anthem a “son of a bitch.”
The White House on Tuesday applauded the NFL’s reported rule change to force players to stand.