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.
FFRF was informed that a classroom in Bernard Campbell Middle School in Lee’s Summit Mo., displayed a religious poster prominently on the wall facing the students. The poster read, “Blessed are the people who know the joyful Sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance. Psalm 89:15.”
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott sent a letter to Superintendent Dr. David McGehee on Feb. 20, explaining why advancing, preferring, and promoting religion in the classroom is divisive and unconstitutional.
“When a schoolteacher places religious posters in the classroom, she unconstitutionally entangles the school with a religious message. It is also a usurpation of parental authority — parents have the right to direct the religious, or non-religious, upbringing of their children.”
The Lee’s Summit K-7 School District district contacted FFRF on Feb. 21 reporting that the poster had been permanently removed from the classroom.