A Texas family filed a federal lawsuit on Saturday against the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District—citing a First Amendment violation—after a Houston high school suspended their daughter for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, the Houston Chronicle reports.
India Landry, a 17-year-old senior at Windfern High School, was expelled for doing something she had done for a long time. What’s changed is the political environment, in which President Donald Trump blasted NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem.
The teenager explained to KHOU-TV why she refused to stand for the pledge: “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.”
According to The Chronicle, a teacher sent Landry to Principal Martha Strother’s office when she refused to turn over her cell phone. The teen had violated school policy when she sent a text message to her mother stating that she was ill.
While at the principal’s office, Strother and other administrators stood for the pledge. The principal expelled the student immediately after she declined to stand with them.
University of Houston Law Center Professor Emily Berman told the newspaper that the expulsion is illegal. Citing a 1943 Supreme Court case, West Virginia State Board of Ed v. Barnette, Berman stated, “There are a lot of constitutional questions that raise difficult or ambiguous responses, but this is very clearly not legal.”
School administrators later reversed their decision after local media outlets reported the incident, saying Landry can return to school with a letter from her mother stating the student can sit during the pledge.
Randall Kallinen, the family’s civil rights attorney, said that reversal comes too late. Landry has already missed a week of school and accrued four absences that will make it more difficult for the student to graduate on time in June.
“She was damaged. You can’t just throw people out of school,” said Kallinen, who filed the suit for an undisclosed amount for mental anguish, according to The Chronicle. “I don’t know yet if she’ll be held back.”
Kizzy Landry, India’s mother, told KHOU-TV that school administrators were uncooperative when they threw her daughter out of school.
“I’ve never been to a school where I was called to come get my child, and no one would talk to me about what’s going on,” she told the news outlet.
She stated that the principal finally spoke with her, saying that her daughter will not be allowed to come to school unless she stands for the pledge. That was before the incident became public and the school district overruled the principal.
Now that school officials will allow Landry to exercise her rights, the senior said she’s uncomfortable returning.
“I’m scared of being mistreated now by the administration because of what happened,” she stated, according to The Chronicle.
Happy Presidents' Day! 44 Photos To Make You Miss Obama
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 42
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 42
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 42
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 42
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 42
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 42
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 42
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 42
9. The Obamas on Air Force OneSource:Getty 9 of 42
10. The First Family in LondonSource:Getty 10 of 42
11. First Lady Michelle Obama with daughters Malia Obama and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 11 of 42
12. Sasha and Malia Obama at the 2016 State DinnerSource:Getty 12 of 42
13. Turkey PardoningSource:Getty 13 of 42
14. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 14 of 42
15. Gobble, GobbleSource:Getty 15 of 42
16. Malia Obama, the First DaughterSource:Getty 16 of 42
17. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 17 of 42
18. A Family AffairSource:Getty 18 of 42
19. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 19 of 42
20. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 20 of 42
21. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 21 of 42
22. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 22 of 42
23. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 23 of 42
24. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 24 of 42
25. Always Giving BackSource:Getty 25 of 42
26. A Christmas StorySource:Getty 26 of 42
27. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 27 of 42
28. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 28 of 42
29. Malia and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 29 of 42
30. Michelle Plays on a BikeSource:Getty 30 of 42
31. Obama Loves Team USA, His Wife & MaliaSource:Getty 31 of 42
32. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 32 of 42
33. Family SupportSource:Getty 33 of 42
34. The Sister SelfieSource:Pete Souza 34 of 42
35. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 35 of 42
36. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 36 of 42
37. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 37 of 42
38. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 38 of 42
39. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 39 of 42
40. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 40 of 42
41. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 41 of 42
42. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 42 of 42
Mother Sues Houston School District After Daughter Suspended For Sitting During Pledge was originally published on newsone.com