HOUSTON, Texas - The very freedoms our flag stands for are the freedoms a Klein Oak High School student says were violated.
"Since my freshman year we've made the school aware that it was my right and that I would just respectfully sit," said the student.
The student is now a senior. She said since she's declined to stand for the pledge since she was a freshman.
"The first reason I sit is that obviously, it is my constitutional right, but I also believe we live in a country where there isn't liberty and freedom for all," said the student.
For three years she said she's faced criticism from teachers and administrators. She said she has been written up and ridiculed for choosing to sit during the pledge.
Her attorney says not participating is her right.
"Students do not lose their freedom of speech when they walk onto campus," said the student's attorney, Randall Kallinen.
Klein ISD said it respects students' rights and released the following statement:
"Klein ISD is aware of a lawsuit filed against the District and some of its employees and former employees that alleges that the District and employees have interfered with a student's exercise of her Constitutional right not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Klein ISD denies the allegations and, after investigation and discussion with those involved over a three-year span, finds multiple discrepancies in the allegations. Klein ISD continues to respect the rights of all students. As Klein ISD communicated to the family's attorney this summer, Klein ISD does not tolerate harassment against students."
State law says students are required to recite the pledge, but a written request from a parent shall excuse the student from reciting the pledge. The student's attorney believes a request was made in this case but he said the bigger issue is federal law, not state law.
We reached out to other districts to find out about their policies. Katy ISD refers to state law.
HISD referred to a Supreme Court ruling in their statement:
"The long-standing United States Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette held that students may not be compelled to participate in patriotic observances, which include standing, saluting and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Accordingly, HISD will not mandate nor interfere in the actions of students in observing or not observing the tradition of standing for the pledge."
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