The United States in recent years, has been rocked by protests and debates over issues of systemic racism and inequality. One of the most controversial and divisive issues has been the Pledge of Allegiance, which has been the subject of numerous court cases and public controversies. In this article, we will examine the case of a Black high school student who claims that a teacher pushed her into a wall for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, even though white students were also not participating.
The incident took place at Windfern High School in Houston, Texas, on February 15, 2021. The student, identified only as “L.T.” to protect her privacy, was in her first-period class when the school’s daily announcement came on, asking students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. L.T. did not stand or recite the pledge, as she had done for several years without incident. According to L.T., her teacher, identified as Mrs. Brown, approached her and asked why she was not participating. L.T. explained that she did not feel comfortable reciting the pledge, as she believed that it was disrespectful to her family and ancestors who had suffered under systemic racism and oppression. Mrs. Brown allegedly responded by telling L.T. to “go back to Africa” and then pushing her into a wall.
L.T. immediately reported the incident to the school’s principal and filed a police report. The school district issued a statement condemning the alleged behavior and stating that an investigation was underway. The district also confirmed that students are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and that teachers are not allowed to force them to do so. However, L.T. and her family say that the district has not done enough to address the incident or ensure that it will not happen again.
The case has drawn national attention and sparked a debate about the role of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and society. Some argue that the pledge is a symbol of national unity and patriotism, and that it is disrespectful not to participate. Others argue that the pledge has a troubled history, particularly for people of color, and that forcing students to recite it goes against the principles of freedom of speech and expression.
The history of the Pledge of Allegiance is indeed complex and controversial. The pledge was first written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and socialist who believed that it would promote patriotism and unity among Americans. The original version of the pledge did not include the phrase “under God,” which was added in 1954 during the Cold War as a way to distinguish the United States from the officially atheistic Soviet Union. The pledge has been challenged numerous times in court over the years, particularly over the phrase “under God,” which some argue violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against the establishment of religion.
The debate over the Pledge of Allegiance has become particularly heated in recent years, as more and more Americans have become aware of the country’s history of racism and oppression. For many people of color, reciting the pledge is a fraught act that symbolizes a history of exclusion and marginalization. Some have pointed out that the original pledge was written at a time when Jim Crow laws were being enacted across the South and that the phrase “liberty and justice for all” was not meant to include Black Americans. Others have argued that the pledge is a form of nationalist propaganda that promotes blind obedience to the state.
The case of L.T. is just one example of the ongoing controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance. It raises important questions about the role of schools in promoting patriotism and national unity, as well as the responsibilities of teachers and administrators in creating a safe and inclusive learning environment.