The ACLU of Maryland has filed suit against the Montgomery County Maryland Public Schools for refusing to honor a local 10th grade student's right not to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. According to the ACLU's press release:
Enidris Siurano-Rodriguez, a 10th grader, is an honor roll student and talented violinist. Since she was in the seventh grade, she has chosen to sit quietly during the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, as a way of showing her disagreement with United States government policies towards Puerto Rico. She did so, without incident, until this year.http://www.aclu-md.org/...
Beginning in February, Enidris' first period teacher, Deanna Jennings, who teaches Honors Biology, started directing her to stand each morning when the Pledge was recited. Enidris complied, not by choice, but only because she was specifically directed to do so by her teacher. On April 4, Enidris was sent to the Principal's office where Assistant Principal Karen Rose improperly demanded to know why she persisted in sitting during the Pledge. Enidris explained that her actions stemmed from her feelings about United States government policies towards Puerto Rico, where her family is from. Rose belittled Enidris' reasoning and background, and concluded by stating that while Enidris did not need to recite the Pledge, she needed to stand while it was said. Rose also called Enidris's mother, and said that if Enidris persisted in sitting during the Pledge, she would be removed from class while it was recited. The next day, Jennings again directed Enidris to stand for the Pledge. Enidris silently remained seated. Afterwards, the student was harassed by yet another teacher, Eric Brenneman, who told her he had had students removed from his class for the same reason.
Good for Enidris Siurano-Rodriguez for standing by her principles despite pressure from her teachers and the school administration, and for getting the ACLU involved when the school violated her rights.
Night Cat went all through Elementary School in Maryland with teachers who told the class that they had to stand and say the pledge of allegiance each morning even though this was after the dates of the Supreme Court and Maryland Court of Appeals rulings referenced in the ACLU's press release.
I have a feeling that Night Cat's (and Siurano-Rodriguez) are not alone in being told that they had to stand during the pledge. Thanks to the ACLU for trying to put a stop to this unconstitutional practice.
The right to free speech also includes the right not to speak. Too often this is forgotten.