College professor who was heckled for defending the Pledge of Allegiance sues for violation of civil rights

When hecklers targeted Celeste Barber for her defense of the Pledge of Allegiance during a board meeting at a California community college, the former professor pursued the cause further with a civil rights violation lawsuit and appeared on Fox News to explain her position.

The former adjunct professor at Santa Barbara City College told “Fox & Friends”: “What brought us to this point is the college thus far has refused to acknowledge that my civil rights were violated that day and that nobody stood up to defend me and, more importantly, to defend the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees decided to remove the pledge because of its “history and symbolism.” After much backlash, they reversed the decision.

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One of the individuals heckling Barber was a colleague.

“I don’t know her personally," Barber said. "She was a professor in the chemistry department and she just started yelling, screaming within about 30 minutes of me standing up there, simply explaining why I wanted the Pledge of Allegiance reinstated. I wanted the right to say the pledge at a public meeting.”

The Pledge of Allegiance has since been reinstated due to a “vocal group” of “veterans, ordinary citizens, and retirees” who were “incensed” that Barber was assaulted for defending the Pledge of Allegiance.

“It’s just a joy to see,” Barber said. Among those defending the pledge was actor Rob Lowe, who spoke out against the removal, saying he was “humiliated” by the board’s initial decision, which he called "idiocy."

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Barber went on to say that the violation of her First Amendment rights, as well as her right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies, also known as the Brown Act, “goes against everything this country stands for.”