ACLU Backs Montgomery County Student Who Refuses to Say Pledge of Allegiance

MCPS said students can't be compelled to participate in patriotic activities -- but one student says that's exactly what's happened.

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    The Damascus High School student said she's protesting the political situation in Puetro Rico. Although the school district doesn't require students to recite the pledge, the girl said she's been harassed over the issue.

    She's an honor roll student and accomplished violinist.

    She also refuses to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Enidris Siurano, a student at Damascus High School, was born in Puerto Rico. Siurano says she hasn't recited the pledge since seventh grade to protest the political situation there.

    "The government that's there should be the one that's running it, not one that's miles and miles away," she said.

    But only recently has her refusal caused so much turmoil that she and her family turned to the ACLU of Maryland.

    "Enidris was repeatedly directed by her teacher to stand," said an ACLU attorney.

    In a letter to the superintendent, the ACLU said that Siurano is being harassed, that she was called out of class and told to report to the assistant principal's office.

    "She told me that I was disrespecting the military and military families and students who had family in the military," Siurano said.

    In a statement, Montgomery County Schools said they're looking into the situation, and that students can't be compelled to participate in patriotic activities. If they are, or if they're punished for not complying, that's not in compliance with MCPS rules.

    Siurano said she does not mean to disrespect anyone or her country -- and she feels she is honoring the freedoms of her country with her protest.

    "It's not biting the hand that feeds you because the hand that feeds you allows you to do that," Siurano said, "and they can't stop me from doing that."

    The ACLU of Maryland says this is not the first time a case of alleged harassment has happened within Montgomery County Public Schools over not reciting the pledge.

    The group is requesting a meeting with school officials and an apology to be made to Siurano and her family.