Last October, India Landry, a black 17-year-old student, was expelled from Windfern High School in Houston when Principal Martha Strother discovered that Landry refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, almost a year later, Landry is months into a lawsuit with Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, arguing that Texas state law protects her right to abstain from standing during the pledge. However, state officials are now attempting to argue against the lawsuit, saying that students should be required to stand.
According to Buzzfeed News, students in Texas can stay seated during the pledge so long as they have permission from their parents. Randall Kallinen, Landry’s attorney, noted that Landry’s mother, Kizzy Landry had voiced her support of her daughter’s decision. However, earlier this week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief on behalf of the state at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, hoping to have the opportunity to argue in favor of Principal Strother’s decision.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement. “This case is about providing for the saying of the pledge of allegiance while respecting the parental right to direct the education of children.”
However, Kallinen notes that Paxton’s motivations appear to be purely political, as he is a Republican who is up for reelection in November.
“It’s election time,” said Kallinen. “This is to further their Republican values.”
When speaking with local news outlets, Landry explained that she refused to stand during the pledge as a protest, similar to what Colin Kaepernick and other players did in the NFL last season.
“I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that,” Landry told KHOU. “It’s not obviously what’s going on in America today … I wouldn’t stand because it goes against everything I believe in.”