People across the nation have joined in on the fight to protest against ongoing social injustices targeting African-American with the #TakeTheKnee movement, but one Texas high school student says her participation has gotten her kicked out of her school.
Windfren High School student India Landry has consistently chosen to remain seated in class while the Pledge of Allegiance is recited for nearly 7 months. However, on October 2, the 17-year-old senior says she was expelled by school administrators who reportedly told her that this “isn’t the NFL” and that she would “stand for the Pledge like the other African-American in her class.”
Much like many schools across the country, Windfren high school policy currently allows students to choose not to recite the Pledge, but still requires them to stand.
The teen told CBS Affiliate KHOU that she “refused to stand for the plegde because it goes against everything I believe in.”
Following the news of her being expelled, India’s mother Kizzy Landry filed a lawsuit against the school district and the school principal Martha Strother, seeking unspecified exemplary and punitive damages. Kizzy also set up a meeting with the school’s principal in an effort to have her daughter resinstated, but says the principal told her that India must stand for the pledge in order to be admitted back to school and suggested she “write about justice and African Americans being killed,” instead of protesting the national anthem.
In a statement to KHOU, the school district claimed that a student “will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge,” and said the situation would be “addressed internally.” KHOU noted that current school policy says a student must provide a note in order to be permitted to remain seated during the Pledge.
Although the school reportedly reached out to India’s mother offering to let her return to school and sit for the Pledge after her story made the local news, the family is still moving forward with the lawsuit.
The school’s actions condemning students for participating in the #TakeTheKnee protest are the latest in a long list of counterproductive, misguided responses that continue to penalize those pressing forward in the fight for racial equality and against social injustices targeting people of color.