Indiana lawsuit over Pledge of Allegiance dismissed

A federal judge in Terre Haute has dismissed a lawsuit that accused a western Indiana elementary school principal and a teacher of violating a student’s constitutional rights by forcing him to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Vigo County School Corp. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana jointly announced the lawsuit’s dismissal on Monday, The Tribune Star reported.

“The school district and its employees have always disputed the student’s claims. The voluntary dismissal by the ACLU of Indiana and its client ends the litigation,” the joint statement said.

The student’s mother, Jamie Porter, filed the suit last year alleging Mary Beth Harris and Kelly McFarland violated her 8-year-old son’s First Amendment rights and punished him for not saying the pledge with classmates at Fuqua Elementary School.

“Following a preliminary examination of the facts and discussion of the case, the ACLU of Indiana and the Vigo County School Corp. agree that the case should be dismissed,” Vigo County School Corp. said in a statement.

U.S. District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson signed the order dismissing the case on April 26.

The school district and the ACLU of Indiana both commended the student’s efforts to ensure his constitutional rights were protected, and applauded the efforts of school officials who are committed to protecting those rights, the district said.

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