They were forced to award a student $90,000 and the reason why will totally shock you and leave you flabbergasted, to say the least…
A “non-religious” student in Texas just won a $90,000 court settlement due to the fact that she allegedly was harassed by the teacher because she refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The group, American Atheists, sued Klein Oak High School near Houston after a student claimed that a 12th-grade sociology teacher had been punishing her because she would not recite the pledge, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The atheist group described how the girl had refused to join in the timeless exercise because she did not agree with the phrases “under God” and “liberty and justice for all.” The atheist group also noted that the girl believes that black people and other minorities are not guaranteed any type of justice in the United States.
The Texas Association of School Boards reached a settlement with the group in the amount of $90,000, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Nonreligious students often face bullying or harassment for expressing their deeply held convictions,” Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, said in his statement. “No one should have to endure the years of harassment, disrespect, and bullying our client faced.”
“The fact that this happened in a public school and at the hands of staff who should know better is particularly appalling. After nearly five years of litigation, the defendant finally made the only smart decision and agreed to settle this case.”
Indeed, the girl has a track record of consistently refusing to recite the pledge during her years in school, the group said, but there was at least one teacher that insisted on singling her out during her class and harassing her over her decision. However, that is a right she has under Texas law.
The teacher, Benjie Arnold, told the student that “you leave me no option but to give you a zero, and you can have all the beliefs and resentment and animosity that you want.”
The atheist group also noted during their recording that this teacher had gone on record for saying that those who have issues with the pledge should move to Europe.
Geoffrey T. Blackwell, litigation counsel for American Atheists, blasted Arnold, saying, “The classroom is not a pulpit. It is a place of education, not indoctrination.”
“This settlement serves as a reminder that students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they enter the classroom,” Blackwell said, according to the Chronicle.
Texas civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen said that this settlement was an exemplary case that proves that “students do not lose their rights when they enter the classroom.”
“It is incredible — the time and money spent by the Klein Independent School District to stop a student’s free speech,” Kallinen said. “School staff need to teach the Constitution, not violate it.”
The teacher that triggered this lawsuit just celebrated her 50th year of teaching as of 2020.