For most kids who grow up in the U.S., the Pledge of Allegiance is how they start the school day for more than a dozen years. But many Texas parents may not realize that if their kids abstain from reciting the pledge at school, their children may be breaking the law. At least that’s the contention of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. He is formally intervening in a lawsuit against the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District near Houston, in a case filed almost a year ago. The outcome of the lawsuit could have ripple effects nationwide.
Lauren McGaughey is reporting on this story for the Dallas Morning News. She says the case stems from a suit filed by parents of a student who was kicked out of school for not standing to recite the pledge. The student and her parents say the school violated her First Amendment rights with that punishment.
“Attorney General Paxton says that it’s a ‘moral good.’ He said, in a statement, that kids learn about citizenship and patriotism from saying the pledge every morning,” McGaughey says.
A First Amendment expert McGaughey talked to says he believes the Texas requirement that students recite the pledge is unconstitutional.
McGaughey says two Supreme Court cases address a pledge requirement. In one, the justices ruled that students cannot be forced to say the pledge. In the other, they determined that students cannot be punished for advocacy of a cause if it doesn’t otherwise disrupt the educational environment.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.