LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lebanon High School junior is suing the school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment rights by repeatedly punishing him for not participating in the Pledge of Allegiance.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court, the student claims he has declined to stand for the Pledge due to his religious and political beliefs.
The district requires students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance for dress-code-compliance checks during the first period of the school day. The student’s first-period class is math, according to the suit.
The student, who is not identified in court papers, claims every time he refused to participate, beginning on or around Oct. 7 through on or around Dec. 11, he was sent to the assistant principal’s office and given in-school suspension for the remainder of his first-period class.
As a result, he says he missed several weeks of math class and failed math during the first quarter of the school year.
The student says the failing grade impaired his opportunities to gain admission to colleges. He also claims he has been caused to suffer stigma and embarrassment because he has been singled out and humiliated in front of his peers.
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.