2009 Press Releases

7.23.2009: Thibodaux High Student's First Amendment Rights Secured

Thibodaux High School student Brady Chiasson, who received a detention for following his conscience, has had his disciplinary record cleared of all charges, at the request of the ACLU of Louisiana.

In February 2009, Brady, who was then a junior at Thibodaux High, exercised his option to decline to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The Assistant Principal, substituting for the regular teacher, ordered Brady to stand. When Brady refused, he was sent to the Principal, who ordered him to serve detention. At the request of the ACLU of Louisiana, the Lafourche Parish School Board has now cleared Brady's record of all evidence of his detention, and has confirmed that the detention will not be reflected on his student records.

"The law has been clear for more than 60 years that students have the right to follow their consciences and their principles when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance, and they are entitled to remain seated if they choose," said ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman. "Brady should be commended for defending his own beliefs and the Constitution. Lafourche Parish is fortunate to be home to a young man of principle, and we are glad that the School Board recognizes that Brady, like everyone else, has the right to express his opinions and beliefs."

Brady is an honor roll student with an excellent conduct record, who believes that standing for the Pledge of Allegiance should be a matter of personal choice. Brady said: "I am lucky that I have enough information to know that whether I stand up is a personal decision. I encourage other kids to learn about their rights, because if you don't know your rights, other people can violate those rights."

Copies of the correspondence between the ACLU and Thibodaux High School are attached.

ACLU Letter of June 3, 2009

ACLU Letter of June 25, 2009

Response of Lafourche Parish School Board, July 16, 2009