The parents of a 9th grader in South Carolina are suing after their daughter reportedly received a push from a teacher as she was making her way to class for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The student, Marissa Barnwell, claimed at a news conference on Thursday that she had chosen not to pause during the pledge or a moment of silence while silently making her way to class at River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina.

She claims that an instructor at the school confronted her, shoved her up against a nearby wall, and shouted at her.

Barnwell recalled that she ordered the teacher to “Get your hands off of me” and added, “I was just in disbelief.”

After that, 15-year-old Barnwell was taken to the principal’s office, which she later characterized as being humiliating because she believed she was in trouble.

After the meeting, the principal dismissed Barnwell from class without explaining to her that the teacher was wrong to confront and shove her against a wall for skipping the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to Barnwell, “I was completely and thoroughly disrespected,” The State reported. “No one has expressed regret or understood my pain. It is unbelievable that the school would support such conduct.

In a federal court lawsuit, Barnwell’s parents claim that their daughter’s First Amendment and civil rights were violated by the River Bluff High School instructor, principal, Lexington School District 1, and South Carolina Education Department.

The Pledge of Allegiance must be recited in South Carolina schools at a set time each day, according to a law enacted by the state’s legislature more than 30 years ago. However, the law forbids punishing students for refusing to say the pledge.

Students should be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights, according to Tyler Bailey, the family’s attorney.

America is beautiful because of our liberties, according to Bailey. “Students in our schools should feel secure and not fear for their constitutional rights when they exercise them.”

According to the school’s website, the teacher and principal who are thought to have been engaged in the incident are still working there.


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