Parents of a high school student sued the school district after the student was expelled for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The student had sat respectfully during the pledge around 200 times in class. She had been removed from the classroom on five separate occasions because she sat for the pledge. On one occasion, she was in the principal’s office when the pledge was recited over the school intercom. The student remained seated. The principal immediately expelled the student from school, stating “Well, you’re kicked outta here.”

Four days later, the student was returned to school and permitted to sit for the pledge. The student’s parents filed suit, alleging that the district had violated the student’s First Amendment free speech rights and other constitutional rights. The parents also requested the court to declare the Texas Pledge Statute, which requires students to stand and recite the pledge at school, unconstitutional.

The United States Supreme Court has held that students have the right to decline to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and this decision has been in place since 1943. The parents argued that the Texas Pledge Statute is not consistent with that decision. Although the Texas Pledge Statute allows students to opt out of the pledge with written parental consent, the parents argued that this provision was ignored by the school district and that there was a custom or practice of requiring students to stand during the pledge and disciplining those who refused.

This case is currently pending, and a decision has not yet been issued by the court. However, the Texas attorney general has recently entered the case, making the argument that the Texas Pledge Statute is constitutional and should be left intact. He acknowledges that students do have the right to decline to recite the pledge. However, the attorney general argues that parents have the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children and therefore should retain the power to decide whether their children will stand and recite the pledge.