India Landry was expelled from her public school in Houston because she did not stand for the pledge of allegiance. To introduce my writing students to her story, I created a handout with a news photo of India and a story from BuzzFeed (9/25/18).
The news story includes these quotes: “Principal Strother upon seeing this [that India did not stand during the pledge] immediately expelled India from school saying ‘Well you’re kicked outta here.’” Also, “a school secretary then added, ‘This is not the NFL.’”
What roles do racism and national politics play in this story? At the time of the expulsion, black NFL players were kneeling during the national anthem at the beginning of games to bring attention to numerous incidents of police shootings of unarmed blacks, and President Trump was countering with accusations that the players were unpatriotic.
In a writing class, students could look up the India Landry case and update it, then write an article or a dramatization in the form of a one-act play based on it.
There is ongoing news coverage, including this article: School District Says It Was Only Dismissed from Lawsuit Involving Student Expelled for Refusing to Stand for Pledge by Alberto Luperon, Law and Crime, 4:52 pm, December 28th, 2018. The article documents the dismissal from the suit of the principal and other local defendants and says that the lawsuit continues with the State of Texas as intervenor defendant. In other words, the state’s attorney general has taken it up in an effort to squash a possible challenge to the widespread practice of having students stand at attention for the pledge each day at schools in Texas. So, the case is bumping up to another level.
Alternatively, this handout can be used as an introduction to a more open-ended creative prompt:
How I Got Expelled. – Alex Hiam, author of Silent Lee and the Secret of the Side Door Key are available on Amazon.