Court victory for student expelled for protesting pledge
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - When India Landry refused to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance at Winfern High School, her principal expelled her from campus.
"I believe you stand for something or you will fall for anything," said India.
Landry and her mother Kizzy fought back, suing Cy-Fair ISD for violation of free speech and denial of due process.
"I felt the flag doesn't represent what it stands for, liberty and justice for all and I don't feel what is going on in the country, so it was my choice to remain seated, silently. It was a silent protest," said India.
This week, Cy-Fair ISD's request to have the case dismissed was rejected by U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, which means the state's third largest school district may well have to defend at trial its policy of forcing students to stand for the pledge.
"If Cy-Fair wants to bury its head in the sand and say we will violate these people's rights, then we will go to the court and we will go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to," said Randall Kallinen, the Landry's attorney.
In the meantime, India, now 18, has yet to receive her high school diploma.
It's a sacrifice she and her mother are willing to make in defense of rights they both consider fundamental.
"I support her 100 percent and I'm actually proud of her a because some people won't stand up for something like this. Some people are scared to do this. She's very brave," said Kizzy Landry, India's mother.
"I think it's worth it. It's going to be worth it in the end," said India.
For its part, Cy-Fair ISD is declining comment and has given no indication it will abandon this escalating legal fight fully funded by the district's taxpayers.