For Years She Sat During the Pledge. A Principal Ended That

Now mom of high school senior India Landry is suing, saying First Amendment rights are violated
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2017 7:18 AM CDT
Suit: Teen Booted From School for Not Standing During Pledge
A Houston family is suing their school district after they say India Landry was kicked out of school for not standing for the pledge.   (Getty Images/Jung-Pang Wu)

"This isn't the NFL." That's what a Houston teen tells KHOU she was told right before she was booted from school for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School, says she was in the principal's office Oct. 2 when the pledge began over the PA system. When she didn't stand as requested by the principal—identified in the Washington Post as Martha Strother—Strother then replied, per India: "You're kicked out of here," KHOU notes. Now India's mom, Kizzy Landry, is suing Strother and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, saying her daughter's First Amendment rights were violated. "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," says India, who notes to the New York Daily News she's been sitting during the pledge since ninth grade without issue.

The teen adds that "police brutality" and "Donald Trump being president" inspire her to keep her protest going. The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that making students stand during the pledge was unconstitutional. Windfern has its own policy, stating that students have to stand, unless they have a note from home saying otherwise. Kizzy Landry says she offered to write that note, but she says Strother called India's actions "disrespectful" and that India must stand to return. Per the Post, after media started getting wind of the story, India was invited back to school late last week and told she didn't have to stand, but the Landrys had already decided to sue. Meanwhile, a statement since issued by the district notes "a student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge" and that it will handle any such matters "internally." (VP Mike Pence left an NFL game due to kneeling players.)

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