LOWER LAKE, Calif. — A Northern California high school teacher recently docked a student’s participation grade over the teen’s refusal to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance.
KXTV reported that Leilani Thomas, a Native American student, has been sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance since the second grade. This was the first time a teacher had punished Thomas for her silent protest.
“She told me I was being disrespectful and I was pretty mad,” Thomas told the station. “She was being disrespectful to me also, saying I was making bad choices, and I don’t have the choice to sit during the pledge.”
Thomas said her parents told her what the pledge meant to them and their heritage and she made the decision to sit down.
Konocti School District Superintendent Donna Becnel is supporting Leilani and another student who chose to sit during the pledge.
“They have the same rights when they walk into the schoolhouse than anybody else does,” Becnel told KXTV.
The superintendent said it’s the district’s policy to support its students’ free speech.
The students were able to switch to another teacher.
Thomas’ protest comes in wake of the firestorm surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit and kneel during the National Anthem.