A South Carolina school district is involved in a legal battle against a student who claims she was accosted because she didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Marissa Barnwell, a ninth-grade student, claims she was shoved by a River Bluff High School instructor when she refused to recite The Pledge of Allegiance. Barnwell claims she was quietly walking in a hallway when the teacher yelled at them.
The 15-year old said, “I was totally and utterly disrespected.” “Noone has ever apologized or acknowledged my pain.”
An attorney representing Lexington Schools District 1 claims that surveillance video shows Barnwell being touched by the teacher, but not pushing.
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According to reports, the video shows that the confrontation started during the silence after the pledge was made. Students can opt out of the pledge under state law if they aren’t disruptive.
David Lyon, school district attorney, wrote that there would be no school prohibition on requiring students to stop doing what they do, even walking down the hall. He also stated that the school could not require them to silence during the moment of silence.
According to the school district, it examined all footage taken from the hallway as part of its investigation. They found that neither Barnwell nor the teacher in question should be disciplined.
The local police conducted an investigation of their own and did not file any charges.
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The family of the teen is suing the teacher and principal as well as the school district’s education officials. They claim they violated her civil rights to free speech and not to speak.
Barnwell and district employees are also being subject to “extremely hateful communications” at this time, according to the school district.
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“District leaders strongly condemn such inappropriate behavior. District officials stated that they care about all students and employees and regretted the cruel messages sent to them.
This report was contributed by the Associated Press.