Black student, harassed by teacher after refusing to stand for "Under God" flag pledge, wins $90,000 settlement

My grade 4 teacher has us all sing Chiquitita by ABBA every morning. No idea why, I think she just liked the sound of a bunch of 10 year olds singing a nice song. The local JW kids would just remain sitting for the national anthem and other stuff like that. I remember envying them. I’m pretty sure they sang Chiquitita though.

I have a vague memory of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in Grade one, but nothing after that. But then again I’m a cishet white guy so discrimination and harassment weren’t on the agenda for me.


And the “it’s not supposed to be” is why the Jehovah’s Witnesses sued and in 19andfucking43 the Supreme Court established, in West Virginia State Board of Ed et al v. Barnette that schools could not require students to recite the pledge. 1943. That’s how long this has been settled law. In other words, this case law is as old as he is.


Of course. Because if a POC peacefully opposes authoritarianism, they should leave, but if a bunch of RWNJs are mad about who won a free and (mostly) fair election, they should storm the Capitol and kill and kidnap people.:rage:


This kind of thing is EXACTLY what the 1st amendment was written for


It boggles me that someone thinks they can get away with this kind of shit in this day and age. White male privilege is a hell of a drug.


Well, that would explain it. I grew up and went to school in WV and never had to recite the pledge. But if WV was the litigant in the defining case, that makes some sense.


the pledge, like so many other things, has become one of those death-cult culture war issues. despite being settled law, a multitude of red states have passed laws requiring students to say the pledge each day. in texas students have to also say the pledge of allegiance to the texas flag and have a moment of silence for “reflection and prayer” every day. like the original pledge of allegiance to the u.s. flag, the pledge to the texas flag made no reference to a supreme being but in the legislative session following the one which made reciting the pledge mandatory, the texas state legislature added the words “under god” to the texas pledge. i suppose it was just to make sure they were rubbing those dirty atheistic liberal’s noses in their powerful “rambo jesus” god.


Went through 12 years of Catholic school. By the time I was in 10th grade, I’d stopped saying the obligatory morning prayers and stood with my hands by my sides. I can’t remember if I held my hand over my heart for the pledge, but I know I didn’t say, “under god,” and only discovered that I was saying it the original way when I was way out of college.

One day, the homeroom teacher totally lost his shit with me. It was amazing.


As a Canadian, I’ve always found the pledge of allegiance to be so creepy. Its so mind boggling that a country founded in revolution which is ostensibly so committed to free speech and the right to criticize the government would also make its kids stand up every day and swear fealty.

But I guess I’m biased. Hearing large groups of humans calmly recite anything in unison tends to give me creeped out vibes. It seems fine when there’s some passion in it. People chanting at a protest or a sporting event doesn’t bother me. It’s the eerie calmness of pledges like this that make it weird…


When capitalism and religion and patriotism collide - so much rolled into one. I’m surprised Texas isn’t sponsoring the half-time vaccinated gay antifa abortion service providers execution extravaganza.


It confused me too so I did some digging. Here is the relevant judgment dismissing various claims and allowing the claim against the specific teacher to continue:

It seems to boil down to

i) a fairly technical point about whether and when the student’s mother made a valid request for her daughter to be exempted from saying the pledge.

The judge decided that most of the defendants’ complained of acts were before such a request was made (which I personally think is dubious given the evidence).


ii) a very high threshold for ‘municipal liability’ which the school principal and administrators managed to stay under by saying the right things without actually doing much.


Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers


as a long-time agnostic, my policy was to stand quietly during the whole pledge/silence process. i absolutely did not interfere with anything quiet a student did during the period and i did not enforce recitation of the pledge.

meeting of the entire faculty of my school district always began with the pledge/silence process as well. i would stand quietly but did not participate at all. i have experienced angry glares from some other teachers for my obvious non-participation as well as a central office administrator lecture me on my disrespect of flag and country after one gathering to which i replied that “under the laws of the united states as interpreted by the united states supreme court, i had every right to opt out of participation”.to which he angrily replied something along the lines of “that may be true now but we’re changing the court so don’t think you’ll get away with your disrespect forever.” this was during the second term of george w.


I doubt there’s been a case about making school kids sing Swedish pop, so maybe qualified immunity would apply to this one.


This type of news story comes up every year or two where a teacher gets into a legal jam for trying to force a student to salute the flag or recite the pledge. And every time, every single time, the student wins because of the precedent set by West Virginia Board of Education v Barnette. It sounds like school boards need to educate their teachers.


Christ, what an asshole. (And everyone in the administration who let this happen.) I still don’t understand how the flag pledge is constitutional (sorry Supreme Court, “under God” is absolutely an establishment of religion), much less how a teacher like this is allowed to harass students over it, because someone up the school administrative hierarchy must have known this shit wasn’t remotely acceptable, no matter how inept they are. Hopefully he’ll retire, now, and someone actually halfway decent will replace him. The administration will obviously continue to be a problem, though…


(I followed a link from that article for more information before realizing it was a story of yet another Black student in a Texas high school who was harassed by the teacher and then expelled by an administrator for not standing for the pledge recently.)

I still have psychic whiplash from the fact that for so many decades the rejoinder from the right, if you were critical of anything in the US, was to “move to Russia,” but now that it’s the right who are critical, their position is effectively that Russia should take over the US.


Helena Bonham Carter Reaction GIF


I remember the Lord’s Prayer and God Save the Queen.


Oh, lordy! He got in my face and started yelling that I was an atheist and thought I was better than everyone else. I remember a finger pointing very close to my face. It’s one of the few times I stayed totally calm with someone yelling at me. I just stood there with my hands at my side and stared straight ahead.

I mean, I’d been doing this all year and all of a sudden he takes exception? Just strange!


He was probably having a shit day and decided to take it out on someone who couldn’t fight back. What an asshole…