The American Humanist Association (AHA), a free speech rights group, claims that a student was denied treatment by a school nurse for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at Wilson Middle School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The AHA's legal arm, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, sent a letter to the Carlisle Area School District and Wilson Middle School this week claiming that the student was in the nurse's office when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited over the school intercom on April 2.
The letter states, "The school nurse ordered everyone present to stand up, but the student remained seated as she typically does. She reports that subsequently, when it was her turn to be seen by the nurse, the nurse asked loudly, 'Why didn’t you stand for the Pledge?' The student replied that the Pledge exercise is voluntary and that no explanation for opting out is needed. Shockingly, the nurse responded by ordering her out of the room, yelling, 'Fine! Then leave! I have the right to not service you!'"
The Appignani Humanist Legal Center's letter to school officials calls for all school employees and students to be reminded that students do not have to participate in the pledge, students should not be coerced to do so and that a letter of apology be issued to the student.
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According to ABC 27, assistant superintendent Christina Spielbauer said the school district is investigating incident, but couldn't disclose details of incidents involving students or staff.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students do not have to stand or participate in the Pledge of Allegiance per the case of the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, notes the Cornell University Law School.