A student says she was expelled for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance

KHOU lawsuit

A Houston teenager is suing her high school, claiming she was expelled for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance.

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India Landry, 17, and her lawyer Randall Kallinen filed a civil lawsuit against the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District and her principal at Windfern High School after Landry said that her decision to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance led to her expulsion. Landry recalled that she was in the principal’s office when the Pledge of Allegiance came on over the intercom. The principal demanded that she stand for the pledge, but Landry remained seated, as she says she had always done without issue for years. The principal then allegedly told her, “Well, you’re kicked out of here.”

Her mother, Kizzy Landry, said that she initially had difficulty finding someone who could explain why her daughter was expelled. She says that the principal finally called the family and explicitly stated that Landry was kicked out of school for her decision to sit. Though statement in the phone call was recorded by Landry’s mother, the Cy-Fair Independent School District did not confirm whether the voice belonged to the high school principal.

The district issued a statement, saying, “A student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge.” The district also announced an investigation into the incident.

“The principal instantaneously kicked her out of school, this violated her First Amendment right,” Kallinen stated. The 1943 Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which permits students the ability to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance, was referenced in the lawsuit.

When explaining why she did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, Landry said that she didn’t think “the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that.”

RELATED: Supporters are going to bat for an HISD principal, defending her methods and challenging the district

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