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Fla. student sues over Pledge of Allegiance

By The Associated Press
12.26.05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A high school junior has sued the Palm Beach County School Board, claiming he was ridiculed and punished for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Cameron Frazier, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, is challenging the school district and a Florida law that requires students to show written permission from their parents before refusing to recite the pledge.

Teacher Cynthia Alexandre called the 17-year-old student "so ungrateful and so un-American" after he twice refused to stand for the pledge in Alexandre's classroom Nov. 8, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Dec. 22.

Frazier was then removed from the classroom. He is seeking unspecified damages and legal fees.

"Patriotism is more than going along with everybody else and just saluting a flag. It's about things like supporting our troops during the holidays and helping hurricane victims," Frazier said in a statement provided by the ACLU.

"This lawsuit is not about the Pledge of Allegiance," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. "It is about his right to choose not to stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance."

School district spokesman Nat Harrington said he could not comment on pending litigation.

State law says the pledge is to be recited at the beginning of the day at all elementary, middle and high schools. A student must stand for the pledge even if he is exempt from reciting it with a written request from a parent, Harrington said.

"You cannot be disruptive during that time or any other time," Harrington said.


Update
Federal judge: Students can't be forced to stand for Pledge
In siding with Florida teen, court also finds students don't have to get parent's permission to be excused from reciting oath. 06.02.06

Related

3rd Circuit throws out Pennsylvania's Pledge law

Unanimous three-judge panel says First Amendment protects rights of minority — 'those persons who march to their own drummers.' 08.20.04

4th Circuit upholds Virginia's Pledge law
Three-judge panel refuses to reinstate father's challenge to statute, saying oath is patriotic exercise, not religious affirmation. 08.11.05

Pledge of Allegiance in public schools

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