A 17-year-old high school student from Houston, Texas has been kicked out of school for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance. She has now filed a federal lawsuit over her treatment.
India Landry has sat for the Pledge hundreds of times without incident but this time she was immediately expelled by principal Martha Strother on Monday.
The school administrators had “recently been whipped into a frenzy” by the NFL kneeling controversy. The players have been protesting racial injustice and more recently the president himself after he had some choice words for them.
The lawsuit also alleges that after she was expelled she was told, “if your mom does not get here in five minutes the police are coming.”
“I was actually terrified, I see what’s going on with the country,” India’s mother Kizzy said. “That scared the hell out of me. I thought let me hurry up and get to my baby before something happens to her.”
India was permitted to go back to school on Friday but she is unsettled by what happened. She has no plans to start standing for the Pledge of Allegiance anytime soon.
The suit states that administrators cannot force students to stand for the Pledge, therefore, they had no right to expel India.
“Students cannot be instantly expelled except for being a danger,” attorney Randall Kallinen said. “The only danger appeared to be that her sitting whipped Principal Strother into a political frenzy.”
India says she has been sitting for the Pledge since ninth grade and was surprised it caused to much trouble. Her motivations are “police brutality” and “Donald Trump being President.”
When asked to stand, “I said I wouldn’t, and they said you are kicked out of here,” India said. “The other woman said this isn’t the NFL, you won’t do this here.”
“I never told her to do this,” her mom stated. “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.”
Nicole Ray, a spokeswoman for the school district has said she is not aware of the lawsuit but that a “student will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the Pledge,” before adding, “We will address this situation internally.”