WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - A Connecticut school has settled a lawsuit from a teenage girl who said she was shamed by her teacher and other students into standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Should students have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?
The result of a lawsuit in Waterbury was that students don't have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Should they have to?
The Waterbury Board of Education and teacher said they agreed to settle the federal lawsuit, which was dismissed on Feb. 9 as the result of the deal.
The girl's lawyer said officials agreed that students don't have to take part in the Pledge and will pay her legal fees, which were not disclosed.
The unidentified 14-year-old black student at Waterbury Arts Magnet School filed the suit back in October and cited First Amendment rights.
"The school personnel I think was taken a back by it. It's not something you see often, so it's a teachable moment. I think the way it was handled, probably could have been handled differently," said Liz Brown, President of the Waterbury Board of Education.
Brown says the board doesn't have a policy where a student would be reprimanded for not saying or standing for the Pledge.
"No child should be shamed for any reason. We're the adults, they're the children and we have to show examples and empathy. I think there was a disconnect there to be honest. We need to understand where our children are coming from and the society we live in," Brown said.
She said she and her classmates remained seated during the Pledge to protest racial discrimination.
Waterbury Arts Magnet student, Deante Gilchrist said a number of students at the school don't stand for the Pledge and he's one of them.
"It makes no sense because America is not equal anyway, so why stand for something that's not equal," Gilchrist said.
Channel 3 reached out to the Waterbury superintendent's office, but they did not respond to our request for a comment.
Should students have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance? Vote in our poll here.