USA Today reports, Sept. 28, 2018, that months after Windfern High School in Houston, Texas, expelled senior student India Landry for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, her mom, Kizzy Landry, has launched a legal battle against the school, saying her daughter wasn’t able to practice free speech.
India, now 18, was sent home last year after sitting during the pledge. She said: “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.”
Her mother, Kizzy, said when she came to pick up India, the school provided little details as to why her daughter was kicked out. Later, the principal told the mother, “She can’t come to my school if she won’t stand for the pledge.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is intervening on the school’s behalf. Paxton said in a statement this week:
Schoolchildren cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the pledge. Requiring the pledge to be recited at the start of every school day has the laudable result of fostering respect for our flag and a patriotic love of our country.
According to Texas law, students must recite the pledge unless they have a parent or guardian’s permission to opt out. Texas is one of 26 states with similar Pledge statutes.
Houston attorney Randall Kallinen, who was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2003, has filed a federal lawsuit on Landry’s behalf, arguing that free speech protections also apply to silent protests. Kallinen has dismissed Paxton’s involvement as a political move, saying he’s confident his client “will prevail and she will once again be able to sit for the pledge of allegiance.”
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