A Texas high school student, protesting governmental policies, has been suspended from school for failing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I’m really tired of our government taking advantage of us,” Houston high school sophomore Mason Michalec told KHOU after word of his two-day in-school suspension spread throughout the community, launching a debate over freedom of speech.
Michalec has been observing his ‘silent protest’ for some time without incident, however a different teacher, witnessing his refusal to rise, took offense and insisted he stand.
” ‘This is my classroom, this is the principal’s request, you’re going to stand’,” Michalec said the teacher told him. “And so, I still didn’t stand. She told me she was going to write me up.”
Michalec was given a letter from the school principal stating that he had refused to stand for the “Moment of Silence, Pledge of Allegiance, and the Texas Pledge’ and was being given a two -day in-school suspension. According to the 15 year-old, he was told by the principal that, for every day he didn’t stand, he would be given two more in-school suspension days.
Saying he was ready to accept the threat of more suspensions, Michalec said, “I think it’s time people start doing something for themselves and stop just taking whatever is handed to them.”
Michalec added, “I ‘m angry and frustrated and annoyed that they would try to write me up for something that I have the right to do.”
In 1943, the Supreme Court — in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette — ruled that persons may not be compelled to stand and observe the pledge, writing, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
The school principal has not responded to requests for comment.
Watch the video below from KHOU: