Pledge of Allegiance

Texas School Acknowledges It Cannot Force Students to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

She was expelled and filed a federal suit. Texas' attorney general ignored the Constitution and defended the school.

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Kids reciting pledge
Roman Halanski / Dreamstime.com

School district officials in Texas have settled with a student who sued for her right not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District has acknowledged her right to sit and promises to inform future students that they also have the right to refuse to stand, according to the Houston Chronicle.

India Landry, a student at Windfern High School in Harris County, Texas, was expelled from the school because she refused to stand for the pledge, showing her support for NFL players who had been kneeling to protest police violence. She sued last fall, arguing that the expulsion was racially motivated and violated her constitutional rights.

Supreme Court precedents appear to be entirely on her side with rulings going all the way back to 1943. Public schools can't force students to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It's compelled speech that violates the student's First Amendment rights.

But apparently the school district put a policy in place where students were required to get official written permission from their parents in order to refuse to stand for the pledge. That's not how the First Amendment works, but in any event Landry's mother has supported her this whole time.

The fight became a national news story because Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton publicly took the school district's side in defiance of years of Constitutional law. He quoted precedents from Supreme Court decisions on the school district's behalf, but very strangely, the case he cited saw the Supreme Court uphold a citizen's right to desecrate the flag.

In any event, it's terrible that it took so much time, effort, and attention for the school district to acknowledge that it has no authority to force students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

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  1. Check out the case of dextrocardia in the stock photo! That’s a rarity.

    1. kid behind her is trying to tell her “hey dummy…”

    2. Not to mention all the statues of color.

  2. As much as I disagree with BLM and the take a knee movement, I also feel that a forced loyalty oath is better suited for dictatorships than democracies… Students should be able to choose…
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    1. Nobody wants to read your blog.

      1. Let’s all strive to be less unnecessarily cruel to each other in 2019.

        1. Eat my taint?

      2. Yeah, just blog here instead, like Tony does.

      3. Speak for yourself, leftard.

        -jcr

        1. She’s not going to suck your dick and probably isn’t even a lady.

          1. Whereas Tony will definitely suck your dick and isn’t a lady… technically.

    2. But how will the kids learn liberty if they aren’t forced to pledge to it?

  3. Texans Unite!
    Start a recall of the AG bastard for wasting tax dollars and harassing people on such an obvious case. He deserves to be disbarred!
    If I was stupid enough to live in Texas I would still be smart enough to throw the bastard out.

    1. Interesting question: could a Texas attorney grieve this guy to the state bar? I’m not sure that making frivolous legal arguments is an ethics violation if it doesn’t actually harm your client.

      1. It is if it harms someone else.

        Or at least it should be.

  4. When you would not say the holy words, of the Ee’d Plebnista, I doubted you.

  5. I assume Paxton’s not a legal imbecile, which one would have to be to think the school could possibly prevail here. So, he clearly defended the case because he has higher political ambitions, and doesn’t want to be labeled as an unpatriotic pinko in some future election.

    Shame on him.

    On the other hand, based on personal experience, I DO assume that the school administrators are imbeciles and wannabe authoritans, to a man.

    Screw them.

    The Court needs to order the District to reimburse the student’s legal fees, in full. And the next time the District whines about a “lack of resources”, the voters need to tell them to STFU and stop blowing limited funds trying to defend petty, stupid, authoritarianism.

    Or, the County could shut the whole system down, fire everyone, sell the real estate, and issue private school vouchers to their taxpayers.

    1. AMEN to that. These school districts ALWAYS have their hands out for more and more money, and they waste so much money on things totally unrelated to education. These districts are so inefficient in the way they run that the local county could just issue private school vouchers to the citizens and they would spend much less than they are spending now on the school district.

  6. why a pledge of allegiance to anything in America?

    1. Well, isn’t that edgy and stupid. In the course of my career I been asked pledge several oaths to support and defend the constitution.

      Had no issue with it. Performance of the job required constitutional adherence and, if unwilling to so swear, I merely had to decline the job.

      1. >>>In the course of my career

        no problem with that – taxpayers likely fronted you. i felt cooped enough in school without feeling the need to pledge my allegiance is all … figuratively “The Art of Betsy Ross” to an extent

      2. This is the pledge that adults can voluntarily take.It is not a pledge to the flag or the nation but to support and defend the Constitution. It’s done once which is so different from the forced indoctrination of the school children.

        “I, first, last name do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]”

      3. So, in your eyes, if you don’t want to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth then you can get the hell out of the country?

    2. At the very least a pledge could represent agreement with whatever founding principles you think most essential to our nation and society. I propose something like “I agree that whenever possible we will leave everybody the fuck alone”. Those who cannot agree to this pledge might be better off somewhere else.

  7. I read a recent report that suggested those most upset by “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” were not most religious, but rather it correlated with racial and cultural identity. I suspect this is the same case for the Pledge of Allegiance. Those most upset are not necessarily the most patriotic but rather older and whiter. In the end most people will say the Pledge and not care to much about those who choose not to say it. And maybe that is the way to be really patriotic.

    1. Yes, That’s an important point. Christmas is a cultural event in the West, and Chauvinistic Americanism is an American, excluding the WASPs and coastal overclass, cultural phenomena. (Here in Canada patriotism is pushed by the federal government, rather than the people, in order to counteract strong regionalism).

      Because they are cultural unifiers rather than truly religious or strictly patriotic, they are particularly problematic for the postmodernist clerisy. Hence the “war” against Christmas and the constant hectoring about “nationalism”.

  8. Are we still doing this shit? It’s the 21st century folks, we settled this issue 50 years ago. If the Texas AG is too damn ignorant to know this or so politically ambitious as to pretend not to know this he needs beaten with a stick and sentenced to about 12 weeks in jail with a stack of basic civil liberties literature to read, and you better believe there will be a test.

    1. 50 years?!? Try 75, in the middle of a war no less.

    2. Yes, Republicans are still do shit like this like passing laws requiring “In Jesus We Trust” signs in every room of every school. I’m pretty sure you don’t live in a state governed by Republicans if learning about this surprises you.

      1. “In Jesus We Trust” signs
        What the fuck are you gibbering about now?

        “Hurr durr, ‘In God We Trust’ is the same thing and it’s on muh penny”
        Fucking demagogue.

      2. I live in a state that has had a Republican supermajority in both its Senate and House for as long as I’ve been alive and we neither require ‘in we trust’ signs nor has it been routine to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a school at any grade since at least 1980.

  9. Bad enough that our AG wasted his time (and our money) on trying to enforce compelled speech, but he had to do it trying to defend a moronic pledge that is, at best, a tired old ritual.

  10. The only time students should stand recite the Pledge of Allegiance is when our country becomes a true socialist slave state with our flag with a hammer and a sickle in it.
    Then, and only then, should our offspring, as loyal members of Young Pioneers, should recite the POA.

    1. It’s fine to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class, but it’s also fine for a kid to refuse to do so.

      1. Its not fine for it to be a teacher-led, *class*, thing. You want to recite a loyalty oath (or prayer or imprecation or whatever) – do it quietly on your own in class or get together with like-minded people on your own time to do so.

        There’s no particular reason for the Pledge to start the school day.

  11. I had a classmate in conservative-ish north-eastern California in ’96 who didn’t stand for, nor recited, the Pledge of Allegience. It was understood, in the 6th grade, that he objected to the “under God” clause, and his stance was respected.

    I’m disheartened that such a stance is not tolerated nationwide in 2018. It’s not surprising, unfortunately.

    1. I had a problem with the part about pledging loyalty to a banner.

  12. While we are at it.

    Could we just make America the Beautiful the national anthem? Way better song.

      1. How about I Won’t Back Down.

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  14. …showing her support for NFL players who had been kneeling to protest police violence.

    Alienating those you need to convince continues to be a terrible way to raise awareness.

  15. I’m completely against loyalty oaths where they aren’t specific to an organization you are voluntarily a part of.

    That said, how many public schools students have to toe the line and keep their non-loyal opinions to themselves when it comes to climate change, #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, #obliscoolbutnuts, gun control, white men are evil, …?

    1. That’s because hypocrisy defines them.
      But maybe it’s not so much hypocrisy as it is a huge superiority complex that negates introspection and protects them from thought.

  16. What astonishes me is that it’s rarely pointed out that most of these NFL players who kneel have not done a thing to fight the police brutality they claim to be upset over. What have they done in the off season? How have they used the attention they gained to get people talking about this issue?

    I find it amusing that these protests are usually brought up in the context of “is this kneeling disrespectful to the troops and our country ?” or in the context of Colin Kaepernick.

  17. I don’t think you should be forced to stand. Just like I don’t think you should be forced to bake a cake if you don’t wanna

    1. The right not to do your job extends only to owners of the business, I gather,

      1. Actually, you can quit working anytime.

        Oh, you want to quit AND keep getting paid. There’s your problem right there.

      2. Uhm, only the business owner gets to determine what is or is not the business owner’s job.

  18. I still don’t get why any school – who’s job is basic education – would think that a loyalty oath is . . . not even appropriate, but has anything to do with the school’s mission. Especially in 2018.

    The last time I remember saying the Pledge in class was something like 2nd grade.

  19. The real issue is that we should not be forced to pay for public schools in the first place. If we’re really interested in religious freedom, we shouldn’t have to first pay for public schools, and then — having decided to send a child to a private school — pay for it also. However, that would just be way, way, way too much freedom, huh?

    1. Why is religious freedom the determining factor? No one should have to pay for others’ schooling (or any other valuable good) period, if they can pay for it themselves.

  20. If you’re going to declare Texas an independent country again, you’d think you’d just drop the pledge to the Stars and Stripes right now.

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