‘My current belief is that, like, legally this is not in her rights as a teacher to speak to a student like this…’
Now, it seems, the embittered also-ran is still inspiring girls to follow her example … by breaking the law.
On Wednesday, Clinton tweeted out her support for Mariana Taylor, an 11-year-old Baltimore student who was reprimanded by her teacher in February for kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance.
It takes courage to exercise your right to protest injustice, especially when you’re 11! Keep up the good work Mariana. https://t.co/vnGheuWyJ0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 15, 2018
Taylor testified before her schoolboard, “My current belief is that, like, legally this is not in her rights as a teacher to speak to a student like this.”
Although her cause garnered the support of organizations like the ACLU, unfortunately, Taylor’s interpretation of the law has no statutory basis.
According to §7–105 (c)(3) of the Maryland Code for Education, all students and teachers are required to stand and salute the flag during the Pledge.
While subsection (d) of the same statute provides that students or teachers wishing to be excused from the requirement may do so, subsection (f) notes that “Any individual who commits an act of disrespect, either by word or action, is in violation of the intent of this section.”
Mariana’s mother told CBS News that after the girl became upset she was allowed to leave the classroom, as permitted in the statute.
In her school board testimony, Taylor makes reference to Tinker v. Des Moines, a 1969 landmark Supreme Court case that upheld students’ right to wear arm bands protesting the Vietnam War.
However, the case was later superseded by 1988’s Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, which established a standard preventing students from expression that would result in disruption of the learning environment.
“I feel that my confrontation was more disruptive than kneeling itself,” Taylor said.
But while the burden of proof may be on the school system to provide a rationale for its censorship, it may be up to Taylor to explain what, exactly, she was protesting to begin with.
The issue of kneeling during the National Anthem, initiated by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, drew to fever pitch last season after President Donald Trump entered the debate.
Following informal boycotts and loss of revenue, along with the political pressure, the NFL agreed in May to end the practice on the field and to fine non-compliant players.
However, protests from the players’ union caused the league to suspend the ban in July.
The controversy also has spilled over into other public spheres, including local government, where city councilors in some municipalities began kneeling for the Pledge.
In Atlanta, a charter school announced recently that it would no longer participate in the Pledge but reversed the decision following backlash. Georgia Code requires that each student “be afforded the opportunity to recite the Pledge” every school day.