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Posted under: News Race & Identity

2 Houston Students Sue School Systems So That They Can Freely Protest During The Pledge

These two teens risked their academic careers to protest injustices in this country.

A pair of Houston, Texas high school students are taking their respective schools to court over the right to protest during the pledge of allegiance. 

India Landry, a 17-year-old senior at Windfern High School, was expelled for sitting during the pledge. India's reasons for sitting reflected similar reasons former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick began protesting last year.

It was her disappointment in the country's lack of action on police brutality and the election of President Donald Trump that sparked her protest nearly a year and a half ago ----- even though she has sat during the pledge since ninth grade. 

“She asked me to, and I said I wouldn’t,” India told KHOU, a local television news station. “And she said ‘Well, you’re kicked out of here.’ ”

The teen's mother, Kizzy, filed a federal lawsuit that claims the teen was threatened by police if she did not arrive within five minutes to retrieve India after the expulsion, according to The Root. As of Friday, Oct. 6, India was allowed to return to school but she remains steadfast and will continue her protest despite possible backlash.

According to The New York Times, a second student only identified as M.O. is a senior at Klein Oak High School outside of Houston. She began her protest as a freshman in 2014.

“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,” the student whose name was withheld said at a news conference last Wednesday.

For four years, M.O. has faced harassment for her protest. This year, a teacher told the teenager’s class that those who sat through the pledge were comparable to Soviet communists, pedophiles, and Islamist extremists, per the lawsuit.

The student also endured cyberbullying that forced her to be homeschooled. And throughout the constant bullying, M.O. has maintained a 3.9 G.P.A.  

 The students’ lawsuits state that the schools violated his clients’ first, fifth and 14th Amendment rights, attorney Randall Kallinen told media.

Since media coverage of the lawsuits began to ramp up,  the Klein Independent School District disputed all accusations in a recent statement.

“Klein I.S.D. denies the allegations and, after investigation and discussion with those involved over a three-year span, finds multiple discrepancies in the allegations,” the statement said. 

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