South Carolina school district responds to student’s Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit

A school district in South Carolina said a 9th grader was stopped during a moment of silence while walking down a hallway, as students said, but it wasn’t a pledge of allegiance. in a lawsuit Submitted last month.

According to her family’s lawsuit, Marissa Barnwell said she was pushed against a wall by a teacher at River Bluff High School when she wouldn’t stop reciting her vows while walking to class in November.

An attorney for the Lexington First School District said video from the hallway showed a teacher touching Barnwell’s shoulder to get her attention, but not pushing her.

It also indicates that the confrontation did not occur until after the Pledge of Allegiance (state law stipulates that students may refuse to recite so long as it does not cause confusion) and the silence began.

According to the school district, Mr. Barnwell didn’t keep quiet until he left.

“No school bans requiring students to stop whatever they are doing, including walking down the hall, and remain silent during moments of silence,” wrote district attorney David Lyon. I’m here.

Ms Barnwell told reporters earlier this month that she felt humiliated and worried she was in trouble.

“I was completely utterly disrespectful,” said the 15-year-old. “No one apologized, no one acknowledged my hurt.”

The district decided that the principal had discussed the incident with her, but after a full investigation, neither she nor the teacher needed to be reprimanded.

The district said it reviewed all footage from the hallway, as well as clips released by the students’ parents.

The family’s attorney and parents were also shown all the videos.

The police also conducted their own investigation and did not file charges.

The teenage girl’s family, along with the teacher, sued principals, school districts, and state education officials, alleging they violated the student’s civil rights and First Amendment right to free speech or not speak at all. increase.

In a statement, Lexington 1st School District said both its employees and Barnwell were receiving “extremely hateful communications.”

“District leadership strongly condemns this inappropriate act. We care about all our students and employees and regret that those involved in this situation have been targeted with cruel messages. I think,” wrote the district official.

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