Pledge of Allegiance dispute ends...for now

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — The student and the school district stood eyeball to eyeball and in the end, the school district blinked.

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District decided not to fight India Landry anymore, according to her attorney Randall Kallinen. He says the precise terms of the case are confidential however, he could say the following:

The Windfern School, where all this occurred, has agreed to put into their student handbook that students have the right not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Back in October 2017, Landry refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. This was around the time that NFL players were starting to kneel during the national anthem and President Donald Trump was calling for those players to be fired.

The principal of Windfern High School expelled Landry, which is permissible under Texas law, but Landry and her attorney say that is not permissible under the Constitution and was settled by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1943.

Cy-Fair ISD stood its ground. It tried and failed to get the case dismissed.  

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threw the support of the state behind the school district. He wants the law requiring students to stand, unless their parents give them permission to sit, to stand.

Landry is in the hospital and missed the Friday news conference regarding the development, but activists who were there were pleased.

"I think it's a victory for the Constitution, for the First Amendment, and this is not Russia," said Shelby Stewart. "We still have our rights."

Cy-Fair ISD is closed during the holiday season but the assistant superintendent for communication and community relations released the following statement:

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD did not enter into a settlement, though this was inaccurately inferred by the Plaintiff's press release, issued on Dec. 27. In actuality, the District was dismissed from the case and was not a part of any settlement. It is the District's understanding that the Plaintiff settled with one of the individual Defendants, Ms. Strother. Per the CFISD Student Handbook p. 60 (and Texas law), parents may submit a written request to the principal to excuse their child from reciting a pledge. This provision is currently included in the CFISD Student Handbook, and despite what has been reported, the District has not agreed to any additional notification of student rights in regards to this case.

The matter is not completely over. The state is still involved. When FOX 26 News contacted Attorney General Paxton's office for a comment on the settlement announcement, the office sent a copy of the news release from when Paxton first intervened in the case.