The country is divided on the issue of the national anthem protests that are spreading through the NFL, other sports leagues, and even down into the high school level. Entire teams are taking a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. But those who oppose the protests are fighting back against whether or not they have a right to protest in the first place. While some say their protest is an example of their first amendment right, others think they should show respect to the American flag and the anthem because people risk their lives in the military to protect those symbols of freedom. One high school student in Houston refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
When India Landry didn’t stand to put his hand over her heart and Pledge Allegiance to the flag, Windfern High School expelled her. Because the school requires students to stand during the pledge, they followed the rules as they had them laid out and expelled the students.
While the school requires the students to stand during the pledge, they do not require the students to recite it out loud.
India has refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance for the last few months. And she explained his reason for protesting saying “it goes against everything I believe in.”
After being expelled for protesting the pledge, New York Daily News contacted India for an interview. She cited “police brutality” as the reason that she doesn’t want to pledge her allegiance to the flag or the United States. Police brutality and the fact that Donald Trump is president, she said.
“I never told her to do this,” India’s mom said. “I’m proud of her for standing up to what she believes in. She said she hopes it just brings awareness of what is going on.”
The school ignored India’s protest of the pledge until they had enough on October 2. They expelled her from school.
On her way out, school officials told her “this isn’t the NFL.”
Just days later, India’s mother, Kizzy Landry, filed a lawsuit that names the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District and Principal Martha Strother as the defendants.
The alleges that the Windfern school administrators had gotten “whipped into a frenzy by the publicity of African-American National Football League players kneeling for the national anthem.”
The NFL protest started in 2016, but grew dramatically when President Trump called for NFL team owners to punish the players who knelt during the anthem.
India has civil rights lawyer, Randall Kallinen, on her team. And the professional says that students “cannot be instantly expelled except for being a danger” and for India “the only danger appeared to be that her sitting whipped Principal Strother into a political frenzy.”
At one point, the school’s assistant principal told India that she “was going to stand like the other African-Americans in the class.”
This terrified her mother.
“That scared the hell out of me,” her mother said. “I thought let me hurry up and get to my baby before something happens to her.”
After the expulsion, the school released a statement that said: “A student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge. We will address this situation internally.”