A Student Who Sat During the Pledge of Allegiance Claims $90,000 in Harassment

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A former Texas high school student has been awarded a $90,000 settlement after claiming that a teacher harassed her for sitting during the pledge of allegiance.

On March 29, the civil rights organisation American Atheists announced a successful settlement with Klein Oak High School’s 12th-grade sociology instructor Benjie Arnold.

During the one-minute commitment, each student may “reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in another other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student,” according to the Texas Education Code.

 

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Despite the law, American Atheists claimed Arnold “singled her out” and “retaliated against her for sitting out the pledge.”

Arnold also went on an extended rant, offering to pay kids to emigrate to Europe if they didn’t like living in America, according to the report.

The Texas Association of School Boards, a risk pool supported by school districts across the state, agreed to pay $90,000 to settle the matter before it went to trial.

According to ABC13, the action was filed in 2017 and alleged that the former student had been bullied by instructors and administrators for refusing to recite the pledge because she objected to the words “under God.”

The former student had been hounded for years, according to Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, and her suffering was “especially awful.”

“Nonreligious students frequently endure bullying or harassment for expressing their firmly held convictions,” he stated in the statement.

The Georgia Amendment, which is already state law, was rejected by the Senate Republican Rally. Participants in Virginia Pledge Allegiance to the January 6 Flag
“No one should have to put up with our client’s years of harassment, disrespect, and bullying.” The fact that this occurred in a public school and at the hands of staff who should have known better is particularly heinous. After nearly five years of litigation, the defendant made the only logical conclusion and agreed to settle.”

“The classroom is not a pulpit,” said Geoffrey T. Blackwell, legal attorney of American Atheists. It is a place for learning, not brainwashing. This settlement serves as a reminder that students’ First Amendment rights do not cease when they enter the classroom.”

Klein Oak High School has been approached by Newsweek for comment.

For some politicians looking to make a message, the pledge of allegiance has become a talking point.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) faced backlash in June 2021 after tweeting a Flag Day pledge of allegiance.

Cruz shared a 14-second video with the comment, “This wasn’t always contentious #flagday.” At the time, the video was extensively shared and seen more than 1.5 million times.

However, many social media users questioned Cruz’s decision to post the video while Texas was experiencing an energy crisis.

 

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Texas feared many blackouts in 2021, prompting the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to encourage residents to cut their energy consumption in June.

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