Select Page

Brinsdon v. McAllen ISD, Dkt. No. 15-40160 (5th Cir. 2016).

Facts:  In this published opinion, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment in favor of McAllen ISD, a teacher, and a principal.  The suit was filed by a sophomore who, as part of a Spanish III class, was asked to recite the Mexican Pledge of Allegiance.  She refused and later posted video of the class online that went viral.  The student and her father also appeared on national television.  As a result, the school, teacher and principal received hundreds of letters, some that were threatening.  The student was removed from class after that, which she claimed was in retaliation for exercising her free speech rights.

Ruling:  The Fifth Circuit found no policy, custom, or practice of the district giving rise to municipal liability and awarded the individual defendants qualified immunity because the law in this area was not clearly established.  The court of appeals also found no retaliation since the student was removed from class due to the disruption she caused and not because of her speech.

Share the news.