Teens Sat for the Pledge of Allegiance. Their Grades Suffered

Lake County district says it is 'dealing' with teacher
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2016 7:47 AM CDT
Teens Sat for the Pledge of Allegiance. Their Grades Suffered
The sun shines through an American flag at Fort Gordon, Ga.   (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

Since the start of the school year, Leilani Thomas and a friend have chosen not to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at California's Lower Lake High School and seemingly faced no repercussions. Then came last Friday. Leilani—who is Native American and says the American flag represents the horrific suffering of her ancestors—says her teacher knocked the students' participation scores from a 5 to a 3 for their decision. "Those people, they're not alive anymore. Your ancestors," the teacher can be heard telling Leilani in a recording the teen made, per KPIX. "She says that [the flag] represents the military and that they risked their lives for us," adds Leilani, who says she's been sitting for the pledge since 2nd grade.

"And I always tell her, 'Well, my people risked our lives for our land, for our freedom. For our rights.'" The teacher—whom ABC News notes only began teaching in the Lake County school district this school year—"told me I was being disrespectful," Leilani tells KXTV. Leilani says she, too, felt disrespected, having been told "I was making bad choices and I don't have the choice to sit down during the pledge." Leilani complained to a principal and she and her friend have since been moved to another class. "We are dealing with the teacher on this," says the school district superintendent, noting "students don't lose their First Amendment rights when they walk in the door." (A US soccer star is the latest of many sports figures to refuse to stand during the national anthem.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.