Texas teen sues school over Mexican pledge of allegiance

Brenda Brinsdon didn't want to pledge her loyalty to another country because her allegiance "lies with the United States," the lawsuit says.

A Texas high school student who says she was removed from her Spanish class for refusing to recite the Mexican pledge of allegiance is suing the school district.

Brenda Brinsdon contends Achieve Early College High School and the McAllen Independent School District violated her constitutional rights to freedom of speech and equal protection.

The lawsuit was filed last week on her and her father's behalf in U.S. District Court in McAllen, Texas, by the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian, not-for-profit organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Plaintiff B.B., as a matter of conscience, felt that it was not right to pledge her allegiance and loyalty to another country when her allegiance lies with the United States. Plaintiff B.B. sees pledging her allegiance to another country through being compelled to state a loyalty oath as an exhibition of patriotism to that country," the lawsuit states.

The McAllen school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MSN News on Monday.

Brinsdon was a 15-year-old sophomore in her intermediate Spanish class at Achieve Early College High in September 2011 when she said she was told to stand and pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag and sing the Mexican anthem as part of "Freedom Week." The weeklong series of activities at the school was meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the signing of the U.S. Constitution in September 1787.

The rest of the class complied but Brinsdon, who is fluent in Spanish and whose mother is a Mexican immigrant, refused. The lawsuit says she was removed from class.

She said she was given an alternative assignment to write an essay on the history of the independence of Mexico, which she did but got a failing grade.

"Both the alternative essay assignment and its grading were in retaliation of Plaintiff B.B. exercising her constitutional right not to be forced to pledge her loyalty to Mexico," the lawsuit contends.

School district spokesman Mark May was quoted as saying by The Associated Press last week that the class was conducting a "cultural-awareness assignment."

The lawsuit says Brinsdon, now a junior at the high school, was permanently removed from class and got an "F" on her report card for the course.


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