Texas student alleging harassment over sitting during pledge gets $90K

A former Texas high school student who claimed she was harassed for opting out of the Pledge of Allegiance acquired a $90,000 settlement from one in all her former lecturers. 

“Throughout her time in high school, the student exercised her constitutional right to decline to participate in the Pledge out of her objection to the words, ‘Under God,’ and her belief that the United States does not adequately guarantee ‘liberty and justice for all,’ especially for people of color,” nonprofit group, American Atheists, introduced in a press release Tuesday. An legal professional with American Atheists filed the go well with on behalf of the student in 2017. 

The former student, recognized solely as M.O., mentioned she confronted harassment from teachers and students at Klein Oak High School, together with being in comparison with communists and being instructed to go away the U.S.

“He first started out by saying if you sit for the pledge you take from this country and you’re unappreciative but then he goes onto compare people who sit for the pledge to Communists. He says that you want to be in America you need to assimilate to essentially our values, and that if you sit, you’re not doing that,” the student said of one of her teachers back in 2017.

M.O. started sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance in 2014 when she was a freshman. 

“The first reason I sit is because obviously it is my constitutional right, but I also believe that we live in a country where there isn’t justice and freedom for all and so I’m not going to stand for a pledge that says there is when there really isn’t,” the student mentioned in 2017.

The U.S. Supreme Court dominated within the 1943 case West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette that it’s unconstitutional to require college students to face. Students are allowed to choose out of standing or reciting the pledge if their dad and mom make a written request, M.O.’s legal professional, Geoffrey Blackwell, of American Atheists. 

M.O.’s twelfth grade sociology trainer Benjie Arnold settled the go well with, in response to American Atheists. He was accused of harassing M.O. over two years and threatening to flunk her for not participating within the Pledge of Allegiance. He was additionally allegedly recorded providing to pay college students to maneuver to Europe in the event that they didn’t just like the United States. 

American flag in classroom
The former student, recognized solely as M.O., mentioned she confronted harassment from lecturers and college students at Klein Oak High School, together with being in comparison with communists and being instructed to go away the U.S.
Getty Images

M.O. suffered from emotional misery and panic assaults brought on by the harassment, according to the lawsuit. She finally left the varsity and was homeschooled, however returned and continued going through discrimination, in response to the go well with. 

The nonprofit Texas Association of School Boards paid $90,000 to resolve the case earlier than it went to trial in Houston, in response to the press launch. 

“Nonreligious students often face bullying or harassment for expressing their deeply held convictions,” Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, mentioned in response to the press launch. “No one ought to need to endure the years of harassment, disrespect, and bullying our shopper confronted.

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