Checking Her Rights at the Schoolhouse Door

October 30, 2017 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

Both Klein School District and Cypress School District require their students to stand and recite the pledge or be punished.  Both district are north of Houston.

Two students have fought for their right not to pledge allegiance to a flag because they feel, “We live in a country where there isn’t justice and freedom for all, and so I’m not going to stand for a pledge that says there is.”

They are both African American and both are female.

Oddly, in a journalism class one of the students was told to change classes to get another teacher.

At one point, a guidance counselor suggested that the student switch out of a journalism class whose teacher had insisted she stand, according to the lawsuit. This year, a teacher told the teenager’s class that those who sat through the pledge were comparable to Soviet communists, pedophiles and Islamist extremists, the lawsuit said. Classmates harassed the teenager online and in person, including as recently as last week, Mr. Kallinen said.

The other was suspended for refusing to stand while in the principal’s office.  The school secretary told her, “This is not the N.F.L.” The student was told that if her mother did get to the school within 5 minutes, she would be escorted off campus by police.  She is 17 years old.

It seems to me that teachers should be the bulwark of education and open mindedness.  Maybe we should have teachers be required to read the Bill of Rights every morning or at least quit messing with students who have read it.

Thanks to Sam in Minnesoooota for the heads up.

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36 Comments to “Checking Her Rights at the Schoolhouse Door”


  1. When I was in high school in east Texas, the vice principal told us that we didn’t have rights until we graduated and if we did they stopped at the edge of campus.

    That said, it’s already been decided in the courts that schools cannot force students to stand or recite the pledge. So it should be an open and shut case. But it’s east Texas so open and shut on appeal.

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  2. As a retired educator from Klein ISD, and my wife from Cy-Fair, I hope there is bad information here and the allegations aren’t accurate, If true, I may be sitting in the Central Office to express my displeasure. I am continually amazed at the narrow minded “adults” all around us, totally devoid of critical thinking skills.

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  3. Girls, if you can’t pretend there is freedom and justice for all, then go to the office and see the man behind the curtain.

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  4. About 15 years or so ago, a Klein HS student wanted to start a GLBT club. It took a long time to get permission. Many district patrons were willing to do away with all after school clubs in order to prevent her from forming the club. There were trustees and patrons willing to fund a court fight all the way to the Supremes to stop her. Some of those trustees are still there.

    They had hired a superintendent from another state. He told them she had a right to do that. He was replaced as soon as the contract permitted it. IIRC, he still had a couple years left.

    That superintendent was replaced by a local in house person who was a member of the Champion Forest Baptist Church. As are many district employees and Trustees.

    We got a person elected to the board. It was customary for the trustees to contact the person who put an item on the agenda if they had questions. She was told by the superintendent to file a FOIA form if she needed information about an item she was to vote on.

    Most of the teachers live in the district. They can carry a school board election. In fact, when nobody would run and DH had to, the communications director of the district had a coffee at her house for the opponent. She invited all the Klein Foundation members, faculty and friends. The superintendent’s neighbor sent out a letter saying do not vote for him, he is a one of those awful Democrats. That is the election we found out the Democratic precinct committee people would not get off their asses long enough to contact their known Democratic voters. You are seeing the result.

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  5. Sandridge says:

    This issue was resolved by the Supreme Court of the USA on Flag Day, 1943; 74 years ago.

    These girls shouldn’t have too much trouble getting some good lawyers and successfully suing the effen socks off of these despicable flag-wrapped, bible-thumping, theo-fascist, un-American SOB’s.

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  6. Wow. The salon needs a couple of Texas attorneys to come forward with an offer of assistance to these two citizens and their families.

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  7. lobstershift says:

    The Supreme Court ruled in the early 1940s that there is no requirement for any citizen to pledge allegiance or salute the flag. That’s what freedom is all about.

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  8. @Sandridge

    Would that be West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)?

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  9. Sandridge says:

    Crone,
    I remember some of that stuff way back then. I was working TDY from Navasota, Anderson, Sugarland, to Galveston and everything in between back then. Used to read my comp copy of the Chronicle when I had a chance.
    I think there were other districts with similar issues, Alief et al?

    Just something to read to me. I just wanted to get TF outta the Houston area and home for the weekend if I could. ;]

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  10. Sandridge says:

    Micr,
    I believe that’s the one. The written opinion was eloquent, the release date obviously chosen for effect, and it nailed this issue shut.

    I rlyrly hate these Rescummie mf’ers.
    The Dems had better vanquish them in Nov 2018. Last Chance.

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  11. Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. This issue was settled years ago. All it going to accomplish is to cost Klein taxpayers a ton of money and make some civil rights attorneys a lot of money. Oh if I were licensed in Texas…

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  12. Sandridge says:

    Nov 2018. Last Chance.
    It really is. Sounds as if the wonderful, notorious RBG may be leaving the SCOTUS.
    If she can hang on past that date, and the Dems win majorities, losing RBG might be survivable. Otherwise…

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  13. Sam in St Paul says:

    The same districts that would like to bring back mandatory Christian prayer are unwilling to brook any form of dissent. I’m sure that all the individuals involved in harassing these students proudly display their ‘christian’ credentials.

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  14. Sounds like ACLU time to me.

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  15. It’s ironic that those who are as rigid as Soviet communists and Islamic extremists in dictating absolute conformity of public ritual observation are claiming that those asserting their rights as free Americans are behaving like communists and Islamists. Makes we wonder how such ignorant fools got to be teachers and educators.

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  16. Opinionated Hussy says:

    I remember a couple of kids in grade school who didn’t stand and recite the Pledge. Religious exemption in their case (7th Day Adventists? It’s been a long time….). Nobody made a big deal about it – just thought it was odd the first time we saw it as kids, and then left them alone about it because….Freedom of Religion.

    And that was in the early ’60’s so, yes, I remember when “Under God” got added to the Pledge, too.

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  17. Sarah Padfield says:

    Reminds me of the old maid Bible-banger who was my homeroom teacher my senior year of high school. Every day, in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance, she’d have one of the students lead the class in prayer. We had a female Muslim student in our homeroom, whom the teacher called to the front of the classroom and insisted that she lead us in a Christian prayer. The young woman stood, looking bewildered, shrugged and then sat back down. This was more than 60 years ago and I’ve never forgotten it.
    Teachers have been using their positions as enforcers of their own views and creeds since God made dirt.

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  18. Having taught in CFISD for 32 years, and recently retired, I know that the students are encouraged to stand and recite, but not required to do so. Do not paint the whole district in a negative way, because one administrator lost control of a situation and made threatening statements that the district would not back up.
    I cannot speak for Klein, but if the teacher actually said the things that were stated, he or she should be shown the door.
    IMHO!

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  19. Fenway Fran says:

    It always annoyed me when I was subbing at Clements that they had the kids pledge to the Texas flag as well as the US Flag. Seemed a little over the top. No offense to my Texan friends, but pledging allegiance to the Texas flag just isn’t in my DNA, I was just there for a life chapter or two. I stood silently and let the kids do it. Or not. At least they didn’t make them do it EVERY morning! Just Mondays and Fridays, as I recall.

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  20. Tilphousia says:

    This type of crap makes me ill. We have freedom FROM religion. Guaranteed. Neither of those young women is at fault but their teachers? and those supervisors need a good class in the Bill of Rights as they have no idea what it says or means. Perhaps if the preachers actually knew about separation of church and state and what being forced to conform against ones will actually does, they wouldn’t be so eager to force others to their will.

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  21. as someone recently said, those that get all goose bumpy over various cultural/patriotic symbols all too often end up goose stepping. Seems as if that is what is happening in that particular school system. Rather makes home schooling look good, doesn’t it.

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  22. Tilphousia:
    I’m just as full of sh*t as anyone else, but the preachers in question are totally aware of the concept of the separation of church and state. They just don’t agree with it. And every one of them believes that their religion is the one that should dominate every conversation about policy. And the Koch brothers are as happy pigs in s**t to let arguments between religious conservative factions keep attention away from anything resembling the truth. Like tax cuts for them.

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  23. As Betty Bowers says:
    “Religious freedom is never about stopping persecution. It’s about who gets to do it.”

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  24. Sounds to me like they need school assemblies on the meaning of the Bill of Rights, but I don’t know who would conduct them: nobody in the school district, and I doubt in the county or even the state, and at this point not even a national official.

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  25. Ellen Childress says:

    Someone wrote that when fascism comes to the United States it will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.
    Actually it has been here for a long, long time tucked away in churches,schools, and homes where it festered and fumed and grew fat and bursting with negative energy. . . . . . until Trump came along and invited it to take over.

    What we are looking at is basically a “bloodless coup” in our wonderful, so-called democratic country where no one has the guts or the gall to stand up and “speak truth to power”. No one at all.

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  26. slipstream says:

    This brouhaha reminds me of a formative event in my life.

    Gather ’round, pull up a tree stump, sit yourself down and listen, you young pups, and learn how slipstream went bad.

    slipstream when he was quite young went to school. The school had a playground. The playground was part asphalt and part grass lawn with big metal sprinkler heads. The school had a safety rule: run and play all you want on the asphalt, but no running on the grass. This rule was for our safety. When the grass was wet it was slippery, and if you were running on the wet grass there was a chance you could slip and hit your head on a metal sprinkler head.

    That summer slipstream’s family moved about twenty miles. New school. Playground. Part asphalt and part large grass lawn with big metal sprinkler heads. This school also had a safety rule: run and play all you want on the grass, but no running on the asphalt. This rule was for our safety. You could slip and skin your knee on the asphalt, but the grass was more forgiving.

    slipstream, young though he was, noticed that the rules were opposite.

    It was not a good idea to speak up about this. What idiot would question a rule created for his own safety?

    This observation was probably the beginning of my rejection of the argument from authority. Long before hippies and Viet Nam protests. Long before high school coaches telling you that it was disrespectful to have hair over your ears. Long before William Westmoreland — in his crisp uniform the very picture of a four-star general — lied his ass off about the war in Viet Nam. Long before Nixon and the traitors who lied to protect him.

    Now we have Trump and his pet four-star general, and a sycophant who tells us it is improper to question the veracity of a four-star general.

    Now we have high school administrators telling students they must recite the pledge of allegiance — in direct defiance of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Different circus, same clowns.

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  27. Slipstream:
    That sounds more like a story about how Slipstream went good.

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  28. Opinionated Hussy says:

    @Slipstream: “Different circus, same clowns”

    This is now, officially, one of my favorite sayings of all time and I am herewith adding it to my repertoire. Thank you.

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  29. @slipstream

    Welcome to the larger world of “situational ethics”. Would you like coffee here? Or tea over there?

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  30. Goodness gracious!

    I went to Catholic High School in the 1970’s. I refused to *pray* and didn’t get into this much trouble! I also skipped the “Under God” bit in the Pledge.

    My homeroom teacher got in my face about it once. Once in four years.

    What’s wrong with Texas, Y’all?

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  31. “…comparable to Soviet communists…” This shows the utter stoopidity of that teacher!!! There was no such thing as that, they were a totalitarian dictatorship, which like ‘merica awarded the ultra rich and screwed everyone else. Its amazing how many ‘mericans don’t know what communism is (share your wealth with the poor-someone 2000yr ago said something like that).

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  32. AlanInAustin ... says:

    I went to parochial grade school and we did the Pledge each morning. I still remember that (even back then) I thought of it as “praying to the flag”.

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  33. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    CFISD Isn’t that the one where the director of the award winning marching band was fired after soliciting an undercover male police officer and was later rehired at one of the middle schools?
    I guess their standards haven’t changed. So glad we got our kids out of there intact.

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  34. BujoWaddell says:

    The case was W.Va. Board of Ed v Barnette, 319 US 624, 63 S Ct 1178, (1943). In the majority opinion (6-3) Justice Robert Jackson wrote “the very purpose of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities.” The Court emphasized that under the Bill of Rights, neither the freedom of speech nor freedom of worship may be curtailed by the popular vote of a legislative assembly, unless it is through the amendment process set forth in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, and then only with the approval of 3/4 of the states. -West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. (2008)

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  35. Ellen, Upton Sinclair spoke the words you quoted. He wrote The Jungle, about turn of the 20th century immigrants working in Chicago’s massive stockyards and meatpacking district, where they were treated with less care and respect than one of the machines. It’s really a very good, if grim, depiction of economic, industrial, social and political life in that time in history.

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  36. Elizabeth Moon says:

    Should never have had a pledge of allegiance to the FLAG….should always have been to the Constitution, the foundation of the government. Oaths of office, and commissioning oaths are not about the flag, but about the Constitution, and for good reason. Flags are symbols; the Constitution is supposed to be the bedrock reality: We the People…and the decisions made and written down and then voted on back then.

    If the Constitution falls, the flag is meaningless.

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