Student sitting down for the pledge (January 25, 2014)

A student at Southwest Middle School in Orange County Fla., will no longer be coerced into reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

After refusing to stand for the pledge, the student was taken aside by a teacher and told by the school’s attendance dean to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance or face reprimand.

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel’s Nov. 20 letter read, “Faced with the choice of either reciting the pledge or being punished by the school, this student has relented, but now only recites the pledge out of fear of being punished. Students should not be singled out, rebuked, told they must stand, or otherwise penalized for following their freedom of conscience. It is illegal to reprimand a student for choosing not to stand during the recitation of the pledge.”

The Orange County Public School District sent a letter to FFRF on Feb. 18, “After a thorough investigation into the matter, the District has provided Southwest Middle School administration the applicable School Board policy pertaining to the pledge as well as a memorandum previously prepared by District General Counsel in efforts to ensure Southwest Middle School is complying with state law and School Board policy.”

The student sent an email response on Jan. 25, “I am so thankful for your help. Thanks to you, I’m now able to sit during the pledge without punishment!”

FFRF has a lawsuit against the Orange County School District regarding literature discrimination.

Freedom From Religion Foundation