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McAllen, Texas (CBS Houston) — A Texas high school student has filed a lawsuit against a school district after being punished for refusing to recite the Mexican National Anthem in class.
In September 2011, Brenda Brinsdon, then 15, and her classmates were asked to stand up and recite the Mexican Pledge of Allegiance during Spanish class at Achieve Early College High School. When she refused, the teacher gave her an alternate assignment to write about an essay about the independence of Mexico, which she failed, according to the lawsuit.
“I feel that I did what’s right,” Brinsdon told WFAA-TV at the time. “And I know what I did what’s right. I’m going to stand my ground.”
“She spent the class hour in the school’s office, even though she requested to return to the classroom,” the law center said in a press release. “Brenda was also given a failing grade on her report card, which was later corrected.”
The lawsuit states that Brinsdon – the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and American father — was deprived of her right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment and that she was unlawfully discriminated against and punished.
The suit claims that school principal Yvette Cavasos and Spanish teacher Reyna Santos tried to coerce Brinsdon into reciting the pledge and when she continued to refuse, she was punished.
“I really hope that I was an inspiration to a lot of youth in America to stand up for what’s right,” Brinsdon told WFAA.
The lawsuit names the McAllen Independent School District, principal Cavasos and teacher Santos as defendants.