Houston High Schooler Expelled for Sitting During the Pledge of Allegiance

The student's family has filed a federal lawsuit against the principal and school district.

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A Houston teen was expelled from school earlier this week after she refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

India Landry, a 17-year-old senior at Windfern High School, told New York Daily News she hasn’t participated in the pledge for the last several years; however, it wasn’t until Monday that her silent protest became a problem.

She told the media she was taken into the principle’s office and given an ultimatum— either stand for the pledge or get kicked out. India didn’t cave.

"I said I wouldn't [stand], and they said you are kicked out of here," she explained. "The other woman said, 'This isn't the NFL. You won't do this here.'"

During interviews with various media outlets, India explained that her protest is motivated by the social issues plaguing the country, police brutality, and Donald Trump’s presidency. India also said she doesn't believe the flag truly stands for "for liberty and justice."

The student's family has filed a federal lawsuit against Principal Martha Strother and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. The lawsuit states the decision to illegally expel India was likely motivated by the wave of NFL protests during the National Anthem.

"Students cannot be instantly expelled except for being a danger," the family’s attorney Randall Kallinen told the Daily News. "The only danger appeared to be that her sitting whipped Principal Strother into a political frenzy."

The lawsuit also claims school administrators threatened to call the cops on India if she didn’t leave school premises within five minutes of being expelled.

"I was actually terrified, I see what's going on with the country," India's mother, Kizzy Landry, told the Daily News. "That scared the hell out of me. I thought let me hurry up and get to my baby before something happens to her."

According to the publication, India was allowed to return Friday. Though she said she feels uncomfortable after the situation, she intends to continue sitting during the pledge.

A spokesperson for the school district said she wasn’t aware of the lawsuit, but insisted students “will not be removed from campus for refusing to stand for the pledge.”

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