Teachers within Plaquemines Parish Schools in Louisiana will no longer force students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance after FFRF wrote two complaints on behalf of a Belle Chasse High School student.
Previously, students who refused to stand had been informed they were required to stand, taken out of class, and punished. In addition, prayers at football games, Veterans Day events, and other school events will not occur in the future.
"Students must not be singled out or punished in any way for choosing not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance," wrote Staff Attorney Sam Grover in a letter on Oct. 1. "The Supreme Court ruled over seventy years ago that compelling a student to recite the Pledge and salute the flag infringed upon a student's First Amendment rights."
Superintendent Denis Rousselle called Grover on Oct. 7 and said that he "took care of the situation" immediately after receiving FFRF's letter. Rousselle said he would not tolerate students being punished for exercising their free speech rights, even though he doesn't agree with the decision.
Grover wrote about the unconstitutional prayers on Nov. 6. "While it is laudable for Belle Chasse High to organize an assembly to honor veterans, it is unconstitutional to allow any religious message or prayer to be part of a school-sponsored event," he said.
Rousselle responded by email on Nov. 9, telling Grover that the district would no longer include prayers at school events.