This article was written by Adam Hatch - UC Berkeley graduate, son of a teacher, brother of a teacher, and a teacher himself.
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India Landry - Student at Windfern High School
Two Texas high school students are suing their school for demanding they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The girls allege they were harassed and inappropriately disciplined.
The students opted to remain seated during the Pledge to protest injustice. One student, identified as “M. O.” in court filings, had been sitting since 2014, but says harassment reached its pinnacle this year.
Another student was expelled from school for refusing to stand for the Pledge.
“They were making rude comments saying, ‘This isn’t the NFL, you won’t do this here',” 17 year old student India Landry said of her teachers.
High school students protesting the Pledge mirrors the national debate surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
While critics claim sports events and schools aren’t the appropriate forum for protesting, supporters say it's a matter of free speech and not supposed to be done in a way to make people comfortable.
Protests of the Pledge and the National Anthem are not isolated events and are occurring around the country.
All of these protests beg the question - should students be allowed to protest in school, during class, or should they be required to recite the Pledge as their classmates do?
On one hand, it’s a public and school-wide activity and critics of protestors claim it’s an attention-grab and a distraction from the day-to-day business of education and learning.
On the other hand, supporters of the protesters claim that because schools are public, students have a right to free speech and should be allowed to voice their opinions.
What do you think? Should students keep their protests to themselves until the bell rings at the end of the day, or should they be allowed to opt out of the Pledge?