9th grader files lawsuit, says teacher pushed her against a wall for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance
Marissa Barnwell of Columbia, South Carolina, says she was physically accosted by a teacher for not stopping to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Now, the ninth grader’s parents are suing the teacher, principal and school district, as well as state education officials, alleging that the incident violated their civil rights and First Amendment rights to freedom expression.
“I was totally and utterly disrespected,” Barnwell said at a news conference on Thursday, according to a local newspaper. The state. “No one has apologized, no one has acknowledged my pain. … The fact that the school is defending that kind of behavior is unimaginable,” she added.
The incident occurred at River Bluff High School in Lexington on November 29, as the 15-year-old was walking to class. As the Pledge of Allegiance played over the school’s intercom system, Barnwell claims a teacher yelled at him and pushed her against a wall for not stopping to recite the oath.
Barnwell was subsequently sent to the principal’s office, where she feared she was in trouble. But then, she says, the principal sent her back to class without a full explanation.
A South Carolina state law requires public schools to play the Pledge of Allegiance every day at a set time. However, the same law also prohibits punishing anyone who chooses not to recite the oath, as long as they do not interrupt or infringe upon the right of others to do so.
Barnwell says she was walking quietly to class and couldn’t believe when she was confronted, adding that she replied, “Get your hands off me.” Barnwell also said that she later called her parents in tears and never received an apology from any party involved.
The Lexington School District said its attorney is currently working on the case and had no additional comment at this time.
with cable news services