Punished for not reciting Mexican pledge of allegiance? - Page 2
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Thread: Punished for not reciting Mexican pledge of allegiance?

  1. #11
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danifo View Post
    I don't know. Listening to 20+ kids reciting the same thing individually sounds horrible. I am also curious about the quality of her alternate assignment and if the work/effort was equal to what she was objecting to. Unless I'm greatly mistaken, a project on Mexican independance sounds like more work than reciting a pledge of allegiange.

    I don't blame her for refusing to say it or being upset at watching all her classmates doing it.
    I think the teacher was just following policy. The assignment was to recite it orally, which needed to be done in class time, and all students needed to be in class, just because it is class time. I dont think this was intended as a punishment. All the other kids had to sit through it too. When I go to a sporting event with an American team, I dont think of it as a punishment to have to listen to the American national anthem. Though I admit this is a sucky assignment all around and would be a pain to sit through, I dont think that is specific to this girl.

    And it was a HALF A PAGE 'essay'! That is 125 words! Hardly some huge difficult PROJECT. Sure maybe for her, who is fluent in spanish, doing the pledge would have been easier, but that doesnt mean the pledge was an easy project. For a student who is not fluent, I would think that pronouncing everything correctly, memorizing it etc, would be very difficult. Depending on the resources available this project may have been right on par with that. I would personally find the writing project easier.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

  2. #12
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danifo View Post
    I don't know. Listening to 20+ kids reciting the same thing individually sounds horrible. I am also curious about the quality of her alternate assignment and if the work/effort was equal to what she was objecting to. Unless I'm greatly mistaken, a project on Mexican independance sounds like more work than reciting a pledge of allegiange.

    I don't blame her for refusing to say it or being upset at watching all her classmates doing it.
    I can remember an assignment in French class when I was in high school where we had to get up and say a paragraph in French in front of the class. It went something like "Hi, my name is Alissa, and I'm 15 years old. I live in the United States. I have studied French for 2 years...." Other than names and slight variations in ages, it was 30 kids all saying the same thing, and we all had to sit there while everyone else went. I can also remember having to do the same conversations with a partner in front of the class. My impression is that's pretty common in a language class, which is why I think it's silly to point that out as if it were done to punish her.

    I agree that the quality of her work on the alternate assignment is the important piece. If she did a good job and the teacher still failed her out of spite, then the teacher was absolutely wrong. If she did a poor job and the teacher failed her, then I see the student as being in the wrong. I think she had a right to ask for an alternate assignment and a right to be graded fairly on it, but not a right to an automatic good grade. I wonder if they will try to prove that the paper was of passing quality in court.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    I am confused as to why the teacher and the principal are named in the lawsuit. The text of the suit plainly stipulates that they were following their training and guidelines of the district, so why are they being sued, along with the district? Is this common practice to sue the employee for following their employers policies?

    Please correct me if I have read something wrong, I could count the number of law suits I have read on one hand, so maybe I missed something?
    The School District has the policy and practice of requiring its teachers to teach about foreign culture, and leaves unfettered discretion to its teachers to interpret and apply its directives.
    Bolding mine. The district has a policy but leaves it up to the teachers to apply said policy.

    In fact, it would seem the "alternate assignment" goes against district policy when it comes to the recitation of other documents:
    However the School District has a written policy upon which a student can be excused from reciting text from the Declaration of Independence if the student ?as determined by the District, has a conscientious objection to the recitation.? The written policy does not mandate the excused student write a lengthy essay as a substitution for the recitation of the text rich in American history and ideals.
    Taking that together, if she had refused to recite the Declaration of Independence due to a conscientious objection she would not be required to complete a written assignment. Refusing to cite the Mexican pledge should have been dealt with in a similar manner.

    This goes well beyond where it should have:
    On or about the morning of October 18, 2011, Defendant Cavazos called Plaintiff B.B. into the school office. Defendant explained that since Plaintiff B.B.?s decision not to pledge her allegiance to Mexico garnered media attention, Plaintiff B.B. would be removed from Defendant Santos? Intermediate class until the attention subsided, or words to that effect.

    Plaintiff B.B. was assigned to stay in the school office during what would have regularly been Defendant Santos? Intermediate Spanish class. Plaintiff B.B. desired to return to the Spanish class, but the School District and Defendants Santos and Cavazos disallowed this. Defendants also neglected to ever inform William Brinsdon, Plaintiff B.B.?s father.

    Plaintiff B.B.?s school counselor informed Plaintiff B.B. that her removal from Defendant Santos? Intermediate Spanish class would be permanent. When Plaintiff B.B. asked why, the school counselor told Plaintiff B.B. that she would need to ask Defendant Cavazos.

    Plaintiff B.B. then received an ?F,? a failing grade, on her report card in Defendant Santos? class, when Plaintiff B.B. had not been allowed to attend the course.

  4. #14
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    Bolding mine. The district has a policy but leaves it up to the teachers to apply said policy.

    In fact, it would seem the "alternate assignment" goes against district policy when it comes to the recitation of other documents:


    Taking that together, if she had refused to recite the Declaration of Independence due to a conscientious objection she would not be required to complete a written assignment. Refusing to cite the Mexican pledge should have been dealt with in a similar manner.

    This goes well beyond where it should have:
    This was not just a recitation of the declaration of independence though. It was a class project. How was the teacher supposed to give her a grade, if there was no project done? The policy does not say this can not be done. I think it has a lot to do with the circumstance of the recitation.

    I do agree that they went overboard after all this went to the media, but that was in response to the media attention, not directly due to her refusing to recite the pledge.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    45. Teachers and administrators of the School District, including Defendants Santos and Cavazos, were directed and trained pursuant to the School District’s policy which allows District staff to use any instructional resource that may represent an ethnic or cultural group.
    46. Defendant Santos executed School District policy and her School District bestowed training when she compelled Plaintiff B.B. and the Intermediate Spanish class at the Achieve Early College High School to pledge its allegiance to Mexico.
    47. Defendant Cavazos executed School District policy and her School District bestowed training when she encouraged Plaintiff B.B. to pledge her allegiance to Mexico, as the assignment to do so was part of the curriculum.
    As far as I can tell, even if this case is successful, the lawsuit clearly states that the teacher and principal were working within the guidelines they were given. I would say this is the fault of the training they were given, and they are not at fault.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    This was not just a recitation of the declaration of independence though. It was a class project. How was the teacher supposed to give her a grade, if there was no project done? The policy does not say this can not be done. I think it has a lot to do with the circumstance of the recitation.

    I do agree that they went overboard after all this went to the media, but that was in response to the media attention, not directly due to her refusing to recite the pledge.
    The class project was to recite the Mexican pledge and sing the Mexican national antherm. That's it. All they needed to do was excuse her from the assignment. Anyway, isn't there a better alternate assignment? Recite a sonnet from Shakespeare? An alternate assignment shouldn't be a paper on Mexican Independence - that should already be part of the curriculum If it is more work, how is that not punishment?

    I've had JW students who do not say the pledge to the US flag or participate in singing the Nat'l Anthem. If this student refused based on religious grounds, the teacher and school would have handled it a totally different way. Pledging to any flag for any reason would be against the JW relgious beliefs, no? Since all students have the right to opt out of the US pledge, this shouldn't be any different. I'm actually surprised more students and parents didn't object.

    IMO, their goal was to "win." The teacher didn't back down even though she was wrong.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    As far as I can tell, even if this case is successful, the lawsuit clearly states that the teacher and principal were working within the guidelines they were given. I would say this is the fault of the training they were given, and they are not at fault.
    Ignorance is no excuse. CA Ed. says schools must do something patriotic daily and the pledge will satisfy that requirement. It's my job to know I cannot mandate that students say it. If I ever went down that road, it would be my fault.

  8. #18
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    The class project was to recite the Mexican pledge and sing the Mexican national antherm. That's it. All they needed to do was excuse her from the assignment. Anyway, isn't there a better alternate assignment? Recite a sonnet from Shakespeare? An alternate assignment shouldn't be a paper on Mexican Independence - that should already be part of the curriculum If it is more work, how is that not punishment?

    I've had JW students who do not say the pledge to the US flag or participate in singing the Nat'l Anthem. If this student refused based on religious grounds, the teacher and school would have handled it a totally different way. Pledging to any flag for any reason would be against the JW relgious beliefs, no? Since all students have the right to opt out of the US pledge, this shouldn't be any different. I'm actually surprised more students and parents didn't object.

    IMO, their goal was to "win." The teacher didn't back down even though she was wrong.
    First bolded, as I stated before, this is not necessarily more work. Different? Yes. Not a good alternative due to being different? Probably. But harder? I would find it easier.

    To the second bolded, How so? They gave her an alternative assignment. I would assume that it may have gone slightly differently if it had been in her record that she had a religious objection (ie, the principal wouldnt have been involved, and the alternative assignment would have been ready to go), but I dont see how the end result would have been different.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

  9. #19
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    Ignorance is no excuse. CA Ed. says schools must do something patriotic daily and the pledge will satisfy that requirement. It's my job to know I cannot mandate that students say it. If I ever went down that road, it would be my fault.
    Yes, but forcing students to say it would be against your training. If you are told that you can use ANY material you see fit to teach your class, and those materials are approved by the principal, and even the district (as I assume they were by the way the principal and district maintained these were reasonable materials) then I dont see how you could be found at fault for using those materials.
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    Yes, but forcing students to say it would be against your training. If you are told that you can use ANY material you see fit to teach your class, and those materials are approved by the principal, and even the district (as I assume they were by the way the principal and district maintained these were reasonable materials) then I dont see how you could be found at fault for using those materials.
    It's not the material; it's how it was used. Students are exposed to many ideas throughout their public education. For example, they learn about different religions. Thus there are several lessons on various beliefs. It would be totally inappropriate for me to use my position to indoctrinate students. Same with politics and gun control. Just because I have permission to use any material I deem appropriate does not mean I can use it in an inappropriate manner.

    I would support my children to the fullest if either of them opted out of saying the pledge - to the US flag, a state flag, or to "practice" their second language. And I too would be all over the teacher for giving her a failing grade on her report card because she wasn't allowed to return to the class.

    BTW, knowing the SCOTUS rulings relevant to what I teach isn't a part of my training. It's a part of my duty to respect the rights of students and to know what my rights as a teacher are.

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