LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sixteen-year-old senior Lauryn Crawford and her pastor father spent a lot of time talking about faith, justice and respect.

“I love to have conversations with my kids about what’s happening,” said Lauryn’s father, Anthony Crawford.

Those adult talks led to a big decision when the teen abstained from saying the Pledge of Allegiance at Lakewood High School.

“As a Christian, this nation has never been one nation under God, seeing all the stuff that’s happening on the news and to say there’s liberty and justice for all is not right,” Crawford said.

While she made the decision to abstain from participating in the Pledge of Allegiance three years ago, no one had said anything about it until last week.

It wasn’t until Crawford’s pre-calculus teacher told her that she had to stand up for the pledge that this become an issue.

Crawford did not obey the teacher’s orders, and the next day when she continued to sit for the pledge, the teacher insisted that he could not find any policy allowing her to sit and not partake in the pledge.

Later that night, Crawford’s father Anthony called the the teacher to discuss the issue.

“I explained to him it was resolved in 1943 by the biggest court in the country that a student doesn’t have to stand nor recite the Pledge of Allegiance; it’s her right to do so,” Crawford said.

The case Crawford is referring to is West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).

The Supreme Court found that, “The Free Speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits public schools from forcing students to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance.”

This finding was also upheld by the district courts.

Since the phone call with Crawford’s father, the teacher hasn’t confronted Lauryn again for standing up, or in this case, sitting down for what she believes in.

“If it said we strive to be one nation under God, and we strive to have liberty and justice for all, then I would stand up,” Crawford said.

A spokesman for the Long Beach Unified School District told the Press Telegram that the district does not require each student to participate in the pledge.

Nonetheless, the Crawford’s contacted a civil liberties group, who sent a letter to the district reminding it of the law.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (9)
  1. And, believe it or not the law was passed on “Flag Day” (June 14), 1943. Ironic, don’t you think?

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