A Texas student has won a $90,000 settlement from her former teacher in a lawsuit that alleged she was harassed and retaliated against for sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance.
American Atheists, a civil rights organization, announced the successful settlement on behalf of a nonreligious Klein Oak High School student "who was harassed, disciplined, and retaliated against for sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance."
The student's 12th-grade sociology teacher was the defendant in the case and agreed to settle, allowing the Texas Association of School Boards to pay $90,000 to resolve the case before trial.
“Nonreligious students often face bullying or harassment for expressing their deeply held convictions,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists. “No one should have to endure the years of harassment, disrespect, and bullying our client faced.”
The student declined to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance out of her objection to the words, “Under God,” and her belief that the U.S. does not adequately guarantee “liberty and justice for all,” according to the American Atheists lawsuit.
“It is incredible—the time and money spent by the Klein Independent School District to stop a student’s free speech,” said Texas civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. “School staff need to teach the Constitution, not violate it.”