A California high school student got her grades docked after she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because of her American Indian heritage.
“She told me I was being disrespectful and I was pretty mad,” Leilani Thomas told a local news outlet Thursday. “She was being disrespectful to me also, saying I was making bad choices, and I don’t have the choice to sit during the pledge.”
Thomas says she has been sitting during the daily pledge since second grade, after her mom and dad told her what the pledge meant to them. This is apparently the first time a teacher took action in response to her protest. The teacher at Lower Lake High School took points off her participation grade.
School District Superintendent Donna Becnel stuck up for Leilani when she learned of the incident, saying the student is exercising her First Amendment right. “They have the same rights when they walk into the schoolhouse than anybody else does,” Becnel told the ABC affiliate.
Leilani says she has learned this is important to her people, and will continue to sit for the pledge.
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