The school district in Waterbury has acknowledged that students have the right not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, as a result of a lawsuit by a teenage girl who says her teacher shamed her and other students for opting out.
The Waterbury Board of Education and teacher agreed to settle the federal lawsuit, which was dismissed Feb. 9 as a result of the deal. The girl's lawyer says officials agreed students don't have to take part in the pledge and will pay her legal fees, which weren't disclosed.
The unidentified 14-year-old black student at Waterbury Arts Magnet School sued in October, citing First Amendment rights. She said she and her classmates remained seated during the pledge to protest racial discrimination.
The Associated Press left messages with school officials and city lawyers Tuesday.