Texas Attorney General Stands With School That Expelled Teen for Refusing to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to reporters at a news conference outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Paxton announced a lawsuit against the state of Delaware over unclaimed checks.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to reporters at a news conference outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Paxton announced a lawsuit against the state of Delaware over unclaimed checks.
Photo: Gabriella Demczuk (Getty Images)

Turns out that the president of the United States, old white men who wear pants with elastic waist bands and rabid NFL fans aren’t the only ones concerned with who stands during the national anthem.


In 2017, an African-American high school teen in Texas was expelled because she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. According to the Houston Chronicle, India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School, was inspired by NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest the killings of unarmed black men, women and children by police. So she sat during the Pledge of Allegiance. Her teacher decided that because Landry wouldn’t stand to honor the flag that she should be sent to the office.

When Windfern High School Principal Martha Strother saw Landry sitting as the Pledge of Allegiance played over the intercom, she told her to stand. When Landry did not follow orders, she was expelled and told to leave school grounds or Strother would call the police, which sounds a bit extreme, but this is Texas which is like saying, this is Jim Crow’s America.

“I felt the flag doesn’t represent what it stands for, liberty and justice for all and I don’t feel what is going on in the country, so it was my choice to remain seated, silently,” Landry told the Chronicle. “It was a silent protest.”

According to KUT News, the expulsion was lifted some days after it was given and Landry was let back into school with little to no explanation. Landry’s mom, Kizzy Landry, who fully supported her daughter’s decision not to stand for a flag and recite a pledge that she feels like doesn’t apply to her or her people, filed a lawsuit accusing “the principal, vice principal, secretary and two teachers of violating Landry’s rights to free speech, equal protection and due process and of singling her out because she was black,” the Chronicle reports.

What does any of this have to do with the Texas attorney general? Nothing. But that didn’t stop State Attorney General Ken Paxton from adding his voice to the mix and claiming that Landry’s parents had the right to submit a statement excusing their child from standing for the pledge but notes that they never submitted one.

“The document mentions the ‘time-honored tradition’ of rising to honor the flag, citing a Supreme Count finding that government has an interest in preserving ‘the national flag as an unalloyed symbol of our country,’” The New York Daily News reports.


“School children cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the pledge,” Paxton said in a news release, the Chronicle reports. “The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents have a fundamental interest in guiding the education and upbringing of their children, which is a critical aspect of liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.”

But her mother agrees with ... Oh, that’s right this, isn’t about facts.

Kizzy Landry told the Chronicle that her daughter’s protest has her full support.


“I support her 100 percent and I’m actually proud of her because some people won’t stand up for something like this,” she said. “Some people are scared to do this. She’s very brave.”

Oh, midterms for Texas state attorney general are in November and I’m sure that doesn’t have anything to do with Paxton picking this hot topic to lend his support.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


Too bad the TX Attorney General is unfamiliar with the law, then?

Enjoy your lawsuit, assholes.

Following Barnette and other related cases, the following guidelines are clear:

  1. Schools cannot require students to recite the Pledge or stand for the Pledge (including standing silently while other students recite the Pledge).
  2. Students cannot be required to leave the room while other students recite the Pledge, obtain parental approval to be exempt from reciting the Pledge, or explain or justify themselves if they choose not to recite the Pledge.
  3. To be entirely clear, schools may wish to inform students that they have the right not to participate in the Pledge. Even if they do not, teachers may not lecture students about patriotism or respect for the flag or the like if a student refuses to stand, as a way to influence students to participate.”