Lawsuit over Connecticut Student Sitting during Pledge Settled Out of Court
A Connecticut school district this month came to terms with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that students do not need to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The unnamed student sat alongside other students during the school's Pledge of Allegiance last October as part of a “peaceful and non-disruptive” protest over her beliefs of racial discrimination against African-Americans.
The Waterbury Arts Magnet School teacher’s actions violated the student's First Amendment rights by mocking and shaming the students that chose to sit during the pledge.
The student’s attorney, John Williams, stated that the teachers actions frightened and intimidated her.
Both the Waterbury Board of Education and teacher agreed to settle the lawsuit on February 9. Also in the agreement, officials agreed to pay the child's undisclosed legal fees.
In 1943, the Supreme Court stated that students have a First Amendment right to not recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag.
Even with that ruling being widely known, students are still having their First Amendment rights violated by teachers and staff members of schools all over the country every year.
Sixteen days ago, an eleven-year-old student was arrested after a substitute teacher denied his right to not say the pledge.
Last year, a Texas high school student was expelled for sitting during the pledge.
Last year, an 11-year-old Catonsville Middle School student in Maryland first decided to sit during the pledge based off her strong beliefs about racial injustice, sexism, gay rights and President Trump’s proposed wall. A few weeks later she decided to follow the path of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick an took a knee during the pledge. She was reprimanded and humiliated by a teacher to the point she left the classroom crying.
In 2017, a 6-year-old Wiregrass Elementary School student in Wesley Chapel, Florida decided to take a knee and was admonished and has their parent receive a text message from the teacher.
According to ABC News the text message read:
“I knew where he had seen it [going down on one knee], but I did tell him that in the classroom, we are learning what it means to be a good citizen, we’re learning about respecting the United States of America and our country symbols and showing loyalty and patriotism and that we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”
In 2013, a Catonsville Middle School honor roll student decided to no longer stand and say the pledge due to how the government was treating Puerto Rico at the time. The student stated that the teacher told her repetitively that she was disrespecting both the military and their families.
These students are not alone, it happens all over the country.
Each time it was the teacher's or administrator's choice to violate a students Constitutional rights.