Calif. Student Refuses to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, Teacher Lowers Grade

In the wake of protests against the national anthem, Leilani Thomas, a Native American student making her own stand, was reportedly punished by her teacher.

Pledge of Allegiance
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A California high school student said that her teacher lowered her grade for participation after she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leilani Thomas, a Native American student at Lower Lake High School in Lower Lake, Calif., told ABC News that she has been sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance since second grade and that her refusal to stand has nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick and everything to do with what she learned from her parents about the way Native Americans have been treated in the U.S.

Thomas said that she never had a problem until recently, when her advisory-period teacher objected to her sitting. Thomas said that the teacher told her she was being disrespectful by not standing.

“I was pretty mad,” Thomas said, “because she was being disrespectful to me also, saying I was making bad choices, and I don’t have the choice to sit down during the pledge.”

Konocti Unified School District Superintendent Donna Becnel confirmed that the incident took place, and said that she stands behind students and their right to free speech.

“Students here have First Amendment rights, and they do not lose that when they come to school,” Becnel said. “If any students have any concerns about their right to free speech, they can speak with a site administrator. We also have policies in place to protect their right.”

Becnel also said that Leilani had been moved to another advisory-period class.

Read more at ABC News.

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