Texas is supporting a high school that expelled a Black student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, BuzzFeed News reports
India Landry, 18, filed a complaint in federal court on Tuesday that said she was expelled from Houston’s Windfern High School on Oct. 2, 2017. She claims that Principal Martha Strother told her that her refusal to stand for the Pledge, which she has abstained from doing over 200 times without incident, was the reason she’d no longer be at the school, per BuzzFeed News.
“Principal Strother upon seeing this immediately expelled India from school saying ‘Well you’re kicked outta here,’” the complaint read. It also said that the school secretary told her, “This is not the NFL.”
The school secretary was most likely referencing NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
“Requiring the pledge to be recited at the start of every school day has the laudable result of fostering respect for our flag and a patriotic love of our country,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement on Tuesday, after he filed a brief in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. “This case is about providing for the saying of the pledge of allegiance while respecting the parental right to direct the education of children.”
Randall Kallinen, Landry’s lawyer, told BuzzFeed that he believes the state’s attorney general is representing Texas in the case because “it’s election time” and that the Republican is up for reelection in November.
“This is to further their Republican values,” said Kallinen. He added that Landry received support from her mother to not stand and brought up President Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments about the protests.
“Trump condemns the people kneeling for the national anthem, and he said we should kick the bums out,” Kallinen said. “When he said those words, he emboldened people within the school district to punish kids who sit during the Pledge of Allegiance.”
In October, Landry, who was 17 at the time of her expulsion, told KHOU 11 that she doesn’t think the flag represents all people.
“I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that. It’s not obviously what’s going on in America today,” she said.