Lake County high school student says grades lowered after pledge of allegiance protest

LOWER LAKE, Calif. (KGO) -- A Lake County high school student says she's paying a steep price for refusing to participate in the pledge of allegiance. She claims her teacher lowered her grades.

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Long before Colin Kaepernick's protest during the national anthem made headlines, Leilani Thomas has been sitting down during the pledge of allegiance.
The Native American attends Lower Lake High School in Lake County. She has been protesting silently since the second grade.

"My dad and my mom brought up what it meant to us and our people and what happened, you know, the history, so I just started sitting down," she said.

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For the first time, her protest is impacting her report card.

Her teacher took issue with it and lowered her participation grade for not standing.

"She told that me I was being disrespectful and I was pretty mad cause, like, she was being disrespectful to me also in saying I was making bad choices and I don't have the choice to sit down during the pledge," said Thomas.

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Konocti Unified School District Superintendent Donna Becnel is standing by Thomas and the other student who chose to sit, citing their First Amendment rights.

"They have the same rights when they walk through the door into the schoolhouse that anybody else does," she said.

The school switched Thomas and her friend to another teacher after learning about the incident.

The high school student says she will continue her protest and is getting support from many of her classmates.

Click here for full coverage on Colin Kapernick and his national anthem protest.
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