According to a federal lawsuit filed in Texas on Saturday, 17-year-old India Landry was expelled from school because she wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The lawsuit seems almost too farfetched, but the story goes like this: India had sat during the Pledge for personal reasons “around 200 times in class” without incident. But last week, she happened to be in the office of Windfern High School Principal Martha Strothers when the Pledge came over the public address system. She stayed seated. Then all hell broke loose.
Principal Strother upon seeing this immediately expelled [India] from school saying “Well you’re kicked outta here.” Assisatnt [sic] Principal Fitt then gave [mother] Kizzy Landry fiveminutes [sic] to pick up [India] or the police would escort here out of the school.
The lawsuit also notes that things didn’t get any better when she awaited her ride home in Assistant Principal Penny Irwin-Fitt‘s office.
Principal Fitt told India to call her mother to come pick her up and if your mom does not get her in five minutes an officer will escort you from the building. [Secretary] Mrs. Walters said, “This is not the NFL.” Ms. Fitt said India was going to stand for the pledge like the other African-American in her class.
Days later, during a meeting between everyone involved, nothing was resolved:
Principal Strother suggested that India write about justice and African Americans being killed. Ms. Strother then said the meeting is over and if India does not stand for the pledge she cannot return to Windfern.
It was only after a local news station aired a story about the “Pledge controversy” on Thursday night that Strother called the family to say India could return to school. She was there on Friday — after the Pledge was recited — but plans to remain seated next week.
The District hasn’t officially responded to the lawsuit — given the timing, it’s understandable — but a spokesperson told a reporter that the District wouldn’t do such a thing.
The district has responded with the following statement:
“A student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge. We will address this situation internally.”
The school district has a policy that if you don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance, you still stand unless you have a note from your parents.
That last bit is still illegal. Nobody needs a note from their parents to remain seated during the Pledge. That said, India’s mother was going to write a note on her behalf… but said it became a moot issue after India was kicked out.
If the allegations are accurate, then pretty much everything the school did was wrong. No one has to stand for the Pledge. No one should be punished for staying seated. We’ll see how the District responds to the allegations soon.
(Screenshot via KHOU. Thanks to Scott for the link)