A while ago I read an article about a group of parents who were all pissed off because their kids were being exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance. At first I thought this had to be about the “under God” part, but it turns out the issue is with the notion of pledging your allegiance to one particular country.

The fuss is happening at the John Stanford International School, which is a public elementary school that offers a dual-language immersion programs in Spanish and Japanese, and sports “interior design elements reflecting a world culture.” Sounds like an interesting, progressive environment—and apparently until recently they’ve been been the one special snowflake school that doesn’t observe the Pledge. Even though it’s been mandated by district policy and state law for years.

A new principal decided that John Stanford needed to start following the rules, so an announcement went out to parents that the students would start reciting the pledge every morning. You know, just like every other kid in every other Washington school.

Naturally, because this is Seattle, some parents freaked the fuck out. A mother of a six-year-old said, “It pains me to think that at a school that emphasizes thinking globally we would institute something that makes our children think that this country alone is where their allegiance lies.”

Another parent apparently opposes the flag itself: “But it’s ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag,’ not even the country. I don’t think we should be making kids stand up and pledge to any one thing. It just totally goes against what this community is about.”

Yet another parent wrote in to say, “The pledge of allegiance is forced patriotism. It is indoctrination. The principal’s decision doesn’t take into consideration the diversity of cultures, values, nationalities of JSIS families and staff. And then there’s the ‘under God’ part…”

The policy went into effect in October, at which point flyers started showing up on posts near the school:

Screen shot 2011-11-04 at 1.09.32 PM
Photo credit Joshua Trujillo/seattlepi.com

I cannot even make this up: the flyers read, I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all it’s (ARGH POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHE FAIL) natural systems. Interdependence is what I seek, on one planet, with one people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

So, okay. I can understand feeling uncomfortable about the “under God” section, which was just added in 1954. I can understand if you don’t want your child to have to say something he or she doesn’t believe in. I can understand advocating that the laws be changed about the pledge, if that’s what you’d like to see happen. But I cannot begin to understand how anyone thinks their school is so unique it shouldn’t be subject to the same laws as the rest of the state. Nor can I figure how these words are offensive to the various cultures in our country.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

I mean, are we not united, regardless of race, creed, religion, etc? Is it really so bad to remind ourselves that we’re in this mess together? Hell, I’m no traditionalist, but I like the idea of Riley’s super-diverse (like, way more diverse than this John Stanford International School, according to student demographics) school saying the pledge—to me it’s less RAH RAH GO TEAM AMERICA ALL OTHER COUNTRIES CAN SUCK IT, and more of a statement that we remain undivided, even when everything seems to be falling to shit around us.

Here’s the part that really makes me crazy about this whole thing: if students who don’t want to participate in the pledge THEY DON’T EVEN FUCKING HAVE TO. They’re allowed to quietly sit or stand, whatever they choose. No one’s forcing them to say it, no one’s forcing them to believe it. So what the hell?

What do you think about all this? Are you for/against the pledge in your kid’s school?

Comments

101 Responses to “Non-fiction Friday: hating the Pledge of Allegiance”

  1. MacLeod House on November 5th, 2011 12:37 am

    Don’t worry about it, even if the “Pledge Allegiance to the Earth” version catches on, it will be a moot point in a few years when we’ve colonized the moon/mars and then, well it’s a whole new can of worms anyway. *snort*

  2. Anonymous on November 5th, 2011 12:47 am

    I said the pledge — still do, though it doesn’t happen often — and I nonetheless grew up to be an adult who thinks the right to disagree with my government is a really important one (Sometimes they don’t act in the best interest of their people. It happens.) and that pledging allegiance to said government maybe doesn’t jibe too well with that. Roundabout point being, while I see where they’re coming from, I’d guess it may not affect the kids themselves that much, and I can also understand the argument that it’s a non-issue — in practice.

    But this may not be about practice for those parents, either. They could be worried about teaching their kids to let slide something they believe is wrong. Maybe they see a slippery slope. There is this idea that our list of Real Problems — as a nation, family, business, whatever — can only be x items long. Is that dangerous, or pragmatic? I think smart people can probably disagree.

    Don’t really know what they’re thinking, of course, since I’m a Private Disagree-er myself. But we journalists (maybe all public writers?) have a knack for expending a ton of energy trying to figure out what someone else’s shoes feel like — whether or not we’re ever successful. :)

  3. Anonymous on November 5th, 2011 12:58 am

    P.S. Arrrgh, the errant apostrophe!

    P.P.S. Our lizard brains, HAAAAAAA.

  4. Archer's Mom on November 5th, 2011 4:18 am

    Don’t like the rules of public schools? Then use your freedom to find an alternative. And while you are at it, stay out of our libraries and quit bothering our police and fire fighters too. Have you seen those indoctrinating patches they wear when pulling people out of burning homes?

    Parents at this school should be embarrassed about this. I would be more impressed if these free thinking parents actually allowed their children to process and display their own reaction. Who is indoctrinating who here?

    This is the ugliest fact about how our great country operates: it allows you to be ungrateful.

  5. Sarah on November 5th, 2011 5:08 am

    The same thing happened at a high school in New Brunswick, Canada. My old high school. A teacher was trying to make 2 or 3 students stand for O Canada. Which is what EVERY student, teacher, person is supposed to do when O Canada plays (I’m pretty sure it’s the same when The Star Spangled Banner plays). These 2 or 3 students refused and were sent the the principle’s office where they were supposed to be reprimanded and on lead to a suspension for disrespecting the class, the teacher, not the mention the other students, as they weren’t even being quiet about it. The students were NOT reprimanded, and the TEACHER was put on academic suspension for denying the students their right. Even though every other teacher has had to make other students stand for the anthem for years. These few students thought it above them. I cannot tell you how much it pissed me off to hear this. About MY school! All you have to do is stand quietly for 2.5 mins! It makes me wonder where all of this rebellion and disdain are coming from.

  6. Jenny on November 5th, 2011 6:05 am

    alyn –
    I’m a 7th day adventist and we said the pledge, celebrated birthdays and Christmas! Not sure what kind of freaks you’re talking about :)

  7. Jane on November 5th, 2011 6:32 am

    Against, because as others have said, the great thing about this country is that you can hate this country and burn its flag and rail against it and still be a patriotic member of society and protected by all our freedoms. Also, little kids should not have to recite a pledge that they don’t understand. You shouldn’t make a little kid recite the Pledge until they fully understand what they’re pledging.

  8. JMH on November 5th, 2011 6:34 am

    I live in the mid west and our schools say the Pledge daily. We also teach the kids what the words mean and why we say it. I know this because I teach in a public school. I would love for this group of “enlightened” parents to share their insights with a group of soldiers or veterans. What is so wrong with showing some pride and respect for our country?

  9. cakeburnette on November 5th, 2011 6:58 am

    Eh, somehow I doubt any kids opting out in THIS PARTICULAR SCHOOL will get any flak for it. The kid in Arkansas lives in the Bible Belt, so that’s why HE gets it. This is another thing entirely.

    As far as the “love it or leave it” mentality, obviously “dissenters” love living in the U.S.–living here is what gives them the right to voice said dissent. But, that right aside, we also have to follow rules, because part of the price of our freedoms is the responsibility to follow the laws set by governing bodies. In this case, the school district that funds the school set a rule that ALL schools start the morning with the Pledge, with those who oppose saying it simply being quiet and respectful during that very brief time. I think the whole “my special snowflake” mania that seems to have swept our society is disgraceful. Be individual, but follow the damn rules or get out there and work to get them changed. We have that very freedom to do so, so DO IT instead of sitting on your butts and whining.

  10. Sonia on November 5th, 2011 7:27 am

    I refused to stand for the pledge in High School (a Catholic one, if that matters). It struck me then, as a pretentious teenager, and still strikes me now, as someone with more graduate degrees than anyone really needs in European history, as fascist to line up a group of kids and have them blindly swear allegiance to a symbol.

    My sons go to a school that says the pledge, and my older son is a Cub Scout; they start every meeting with the pledge. I still think it’s an empty exercise that is more about indoctrination than anything else, but I don’t lay that on my boys. They seem to want to say it, so I don’t make a fuss. I also don’t say the pledge myself when I ‘m there, but I do stand quietly. When they get older, I’ll explain my reasons if they ask.

  11. Lisa M. on November 5th, 2011 7:54 am

    Re: whether kids would be ostracized for opting out of the pledge – I imagine it varies with what area you’re in.

    In my middle school, a Mormon kid did get flack from other students and at least one teacher for not saying the Pledge; this was in KY. And though it was several years ago now, I expect that attitudes in my hometown haven’t changed all that much.

  12. Anonymous on November 5th, 2011 8:42 am

    I love the discussion about whether they’d get flack, and whether it depends on where you live. It’s the examples from AK and KY, not the JSIS story, that really make me think about the law and whether it should be changed. (Which I agree is definitely the way to address this if you think it should be addressed.)

    But then that makes me wonder about the whole argument that it’s really not going to affect these particular kids either way. Because maybe that doesn’t matter, maybe it’s not really about their own kids, even, to those parents. Would backing a Will Phillips — to the point of actual policy change if that’s what you believe should happen — be best done from Seattle?

    When laws have changed in the past, has it stemmed from the places where it was more easily accepted, like JSIS? Or from the kind of place where the “opt out” policy really wasn’t enough, and some kid ended up with a real-life problem, like in the examples from Arkansas, Kentucky, etc? Don’t know, but really interesting to think about.

  13. dug on November 5th, 2011 10:08 am

    In 1962 my grade 9 teacher said we would not be saying the Pledge in the morning. Big hoopla to say the least. He was gone at the end of the year. Best teacher I ever had, bar none.
    (My Dad stuck up for him. I was a very proud son.)

  14. Linda on November 5th, 2011 10:13 am

    This is such an interesting conversation! The argument that children shouldn’t be made to recite what they can’t yet fully understand makes me think of kids saying the Lord’s Prayer at night. Same thing? (We don’t do this in my house as we are godless heathens, but I sure remember saying it with my grandparents as a kid, and not understanding it yet finding the process itself a comforting ritual.)

  15. Susie on November 5th, 2011 11:58 am

    I agree with someone above — our public schools have WAAAAAY bigger problems than whether or not to say the damn pledge. Public schools all over the country are FAILING our kids in just about every possible way. They should stop arguing about whether or not to say the dang pledge and get down to the business of educating kids.

    I read this post aloud to my husband and we agreed that, when we send our son to private school, we’ll teach him the pledge at home and make sure he understands how lucky he is to live in a country that provides him with so many choices and freedoms.

  16. Katherine on November 5th, 2011 12:21 pm

    I am all for the pledge of allegiance. I hope it (eventually) teaches my children respect for the nation they live in, and an appreciation for the freedoms they have. I also hope it teaches awareness about their place in a larger system (both nationally, and globally) If a child chooses not to say it, that should be their choice.

    I think if the parents at this school want their children to be aware that they are part of a global community, they should teach it at home.

    My children are dual citizens of the United States and Canada. We will return to Canada one day, and we will expect them to pledge allegiance to Canada when we live there. We choose to be residents of this country, and pledge our loyalty and support to it. No biggie.

    Then again, we spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, and waited years for my husband to be ALLOWED to live in this great country, so perhaps our feelings of good fortune makes us feel biased.

  17. Stacey on November 5th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Sorry, I am against the pledge. I am not against America or liberty or any of that stuff, but I think it’s weird and creepy that we have our kids stand up and recite a pledge of allegiance to a flag. Like another commenter said, it’s like we’re training them to be little soldiers. We’re asking them to pledge allegiance to something before they can even think about what it means or understand what they’re doing. So therefore I think it’s just wrong on principal. I would also be against the alter-pledge that the school came up with, for the same reason. It just seems like indoctrination to me.

  18. Ashley on November 5th, 2011 1:01 pm

    I am not a fan of it, but don’t feel a need to fight it either. Owen had a girl in his class last year that was Jehova’s Witness, she put her head down on the desk while everyone else stood up and said it. According to the teacher this affected the little girls status in the room. Her family is now homeschooling I believe. That is sort of bothersome to me, that little girl could not have felt good being the lone wolf.

  19. Sarah on November 5th, 2011 5:45 pm

    Violators of proper apostrophe use drive me crazy. You’re a kindred spirit in so many ways.

  20. Joanne on November 5th, 2011 5:50 pm

    I think its odd that students are seen as soldiers for saying the pledge of allegiance. There’s nothing in it, to me, that seems like it makes kids soldiers! It seems like a real reach, to me. Also, theres nothing in the pledge that says you have to swear allegiance to the US over all other countries, but you do have to say that when you become a citizen. I am fine with saying the pledge,’and singing the national anthem, and whatever reminds us that we’re lucky to live here, as effed up as it can be. I’m also not into fighting my battles and pretending they are my kids’.

  21. jonniker on November 5th, 2011 7:04 pm

    Yeah, man, I don’t know. I LIKE the PoA. I do! I find it comforting, as you said, Linda. We’re all in this shit together! And . . . since our country allows dual citizenship, I hardly think that we’re insisting that our kids become little soldiers and worship America, right? My friend has Israeli and US citizenship, fought for the Israeli army, and I know her kids say the pledge, because we’ve talked about it, weirdly.

    I also don’t think of it as pledging to a government I distrust. I’ve trusted and distrusted a ton of different governmental leaders over the years, but I never thought of them as being our WHOLE country.

    I didn’t really get what it meant then, but I’m not sure I would KNOW it as well as I do now if I wasn’t forced to do it then. *shrug*

    Interesting discussion, and I love reading everyone’s take on it.

  22. Kami on November 5th, 2011 8:31 pm

    My Kindergartener’s school has morning assembly in the gym before school actually starts. This is optional and maybe 10 minutes max, the pledge is recited every morning-there again OPTIONAL, problem solved. Just for the record I’m for it.

  23. Judy on November 5th, 2011 8:34 pm

    “…about pledging your allegiance to one particular country.” But it’s your country. I don’t think we need to make kids into goose-stepping little robots, but I don’t think it hurts to say the Pledge of Allegiance, as several mentioned, it gives a little comfort, a little comaraderie (spell check does not seem to like what I did with that word, but I don’t know how to fix it) with your fellow students.

    Admittedly, the US does not lately have much to be proud of. But we should encourage pride in our country. I’m tired of this not wanting to show patriotism for fear of alienating non-citizens. We had this after 9/11, with some people urging we not fly the flag because it would offend non-Americans living here. I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. Most of us are descended from immigrants (love the Steve Earle song, by the way) and our ancestors came here to be Americans. They learned the language, they followed the rules, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance. They kept their ethnic traditions and passed them to us, but they became Americans. Now we bend so far over backward to not offend anyone, we’ve lost our unity.

    I don’t like the “under God” part either. I was a kid when that was inserted, while Eisenhower was president. I think it violates separation of church and state. I think it appeals to those same people who constantly mouth that the US was founded as a Christian nation, when in reality it was founded on the principles of religious freedom, which in my mind includes the freedom to have no religion. But it can be nicely mumbled when you recite the Pledge. Up until I was in high school, when the teachers called roll on Mondays, they always asked if we had attended church the day before, Wow. I almost always had not, and I still remember the hot shame that made me blush every week.

    But my biggest problem with this protest is that they are wasting their time on this issue when they really should be worried about their kids getting an education, and not whether they are required to recite a short poem at assembly.

  24. Jmh on November 6th, 2011 8:18 am

    Well said Judy!!!

  25. lisa on November 6th, 2011 8:19 am

    I am one of those heathens who hates the “under god” part, but I still think these people are nutjobs. This is a PUBLIC school. Public school is provided by the government to educate the next generation of participants in our democracy (or whatever bullshit approximation of a democracy we presently have). These people have the right to remove their children from the government school, but they have no standing to remove the government from their children’s school.

  26. marna - jwoap-oregongurl on November 6th, 2011 12:29 pm

    Every INTERNATIONAL organization that I have belonged to that takes place in the UNITED STATES we have said The Pledge of Allegiance. Isn’t this a public school? Funded by the government of the USA? Are we not preparing our children to be active participants in the USA?

    So let’s take this a step further — The olympic games — The country who HOSTS the Olympics we sing their anthem. Each country who wins a gold we sing THEIR anthem.

    And to take this rant even further come on this is The United States of America, the reason we can disagree, bitch, moan, gripe and complain is what? Because we are land of the FREE and the home of the brave. So what the hell is wrong with having our children say the pledge of allegiance and have a little pride.

    As a country it’s very sad as Judy so aptly put it that we haven’t as late done a whole lot to be proud of. And if we don’t continue to encourage pride in our country really, what the hell is there left. I can remember after 9/11 our neighborhood was concerned about flying the American flag because the fear we’d offend non American’s well guess what too fucking bad this is America pal, and we are allowed to disagree, attend whatever church we want, not attend church if we don’t want, show our patriotism and FLY A FLAG.

    No one is going to make your kid say the pledge. In fact, you can take out the word UNDER GOD,and make it UNDER A TWINKIE, or whatever.

    But from me to all of those whack jobs out there — the reason you are able to be weird is because you live in the USA, if we aren’t good enough for you go move to another country.

  27. aviva (old mom, young child) on November 6th, 2011 2:38 pm

    I don’t think this is worth going completely apeshit over, but I do think the Pledge of Allegiance is a crock of shit. I, like so many American students, started saying it in kindergarten or first grade, having NO IDEA what the heck it meant. Do you think kids that young understand what these words mean? Allegiance. Republic. Indivisible. If you feel the pledge is useful for teaching unity and patriotism, wouldn’t it make a bit more sense for us to wait until kids actually knew what they were saying? Because otherwise, we might as well make everyone recite a pledge in Latin. Isn’t it strange that so many of us recited this thing day in and day out without understanding or thinking about what we were saying? What does it mean as a “pledge” if that’s the case? My fourth-grade teacher dissected the pledge for us, asking us if we understood, and then teaching us the meanings of those big words. Besides having kids say the words “under God” in a country that supposedly stands for separation of church and state, it’s just weird to have them pledge allegiance to something that they don’t understand. Lastly, years ago I told a visiting German postdoctoral fellow and his girlfriend about the pledge and they laughed out loud. They definitely thought it was propaganda and indoctrination. If we heard about kids being made to say a pledge like it in Korea or China, that’s the conclusion most of us would draw. It’s just ethically dubious and freakin’ weird.

  28. Penny on November 6th, 2011 7:36 pm

    I am for not giving a fuck about it.

  29. Stacy on November 6th, 2011 8:48 pm

    Seems like a lot of those parents are really self-important and have way too much time on their hands to think of this shit.

  30. Jo on November 6th, 2011 9:08 pm

    Honestly, I find the fact that leading recitations of the pledge to schoolchildren is required by law. What business do kids have pledging their allegiance to a nation anyway? They’re not soldiers. They’re not elected politicians. They’re not even able to vote in civic elections.

    I lived abroad for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eastern Europe and my students once asked me about the pledge.

    “You guys say it every morning in school?”
    Yep.
    “Even kids?”
    Yep.
    “Doesn’t that seem awfully… Communist… to you? Pledging your allegiance to a nation? I mean, c’mon on. Holy nationalism!”
    Huh.

    Coming from a group of nationals of a country just a decade out of Communism themselves, this definitely made me think.

    Does this mean I’m going to go on some anti-pledge bender when my kiddo hits school age and enters the public school system? Nah. I’ve got bigger things to worry about and, like you said, no one can force my child to stand up, put her hand over her heart, and mindlessly mumble out words that have little to no meaning to her small brain.

    But does this mean I agree with it just the same? Not in the least.

  31. Mico on November 6th, 2011 11:15 pm

    Judy was the first to make the point that seems the most obvious to me about this whole issue.

    The main theme I see emerge out of this story is shame. These parents strike me as people who are a little bit ashamed to be Americans. Some of them might even feel the need to apologize for it. Hence the reaction to their children having to recite the pledge.

    Sure, America and its diverse views, policies, history, etc. can sometimes be exasperating. But to want to opt-out, rather than do something about whatever you disagree with, is so weak.

    The pledge, for me, was just something I memorized and recited everyday as a kid. I didn’t dwell on what it meant for me, and no adult in my life ever dissected it so I would understand its true meaning.

    But as an adult, it means something to me now. I have lived abroad since 2004, and I have probably been called on to recite the pledge about 5 times since then. But when I do, I’m usually with fellow Americans, in a place where we actually ARE united for a few hours, and can together forget about our differences and just be glad we share this common bond.

    If kids want to abstain, cool. It’s really the parents in this situation that make my skin crawl.

    (And yes, I have met Americans abroad who apologize for being Americans. And my non-American friends are just as annoyed by their pretentiousness as I am.)

  32. Angie Mc. on November 7th, 2011 7:42 am

    I am all for saying the Pledge. If they dont want to let em just stand there. STUPID!

  33. Alice on November 7th, 2011 9:33 am

    on the one hand, i think these parents are making too much out of this. it’s certainly not harming / indoctrinating / brainwashing any kids, and the parents should definitely counter the PoA with information taught at home if they feel strongly about it.

    on the other hand, i’m another one who thinks the PoA is weird, and i grew up saying it – i went to a catholic school for a bit – and we said it every morning before school. in second grade i started abstaining, because it made me uncomfortable, and in the late 80s in NJ – not exactly bible belt kentucky in the 50s – the teachers got on my case about it. i ended up mouthing it resentfully so that i wouldn’t get in trouble

    the thing i find even WEIRDER are all you folks who get so defensive when someone doesn’t want to say it. if it’s “just nothing” and “who cares” whether our kids say it, why do YOU care so much?? i refuse to believe that a child – or more importantly, an adult – not wanting to be forced into a communally-chanted pledge directed at a flag is somehow detrimental to our unity as a country, or that it affects anyone’s patriotism.

    (also: agree with folks who are saying imagine how we’d react if we were told schools in china made every school-aged child chant a pro-nationalist verse to the chinese flag every day. we wouldn’t find it an endearing display of harmless national pride.)

  34. Rachel on November 7th, 2011 10:17 am

    I think expecting a kid to understand pledging allegiance on their own is pointless, but kids are taught to do lots of things they don’t understand just because it’s polite.

    I do like the idea of the pledge as a reminder of unity. The words don’t say anything about blindly following and agreeing with current administration and political process, it’s about being one country with an idealistic goal. I think it’s very positive for the most part.

    I despise the “under God” part because I think everything McCarthy did with Christianity and government is a blatant violation of my Constitutional rights. I fight to change this by writing letters to all federal legislators reminding them of the Founding Fathers’ intentions. If I were very, very wealthy I would take it to the Supreme Court.

    If I had kids in a school where the pledge was required by law, I would teach them what it means and teach them not to say any part they don’t believe in. I would also talk to their teacher to make sure they understood that my child might not say all of it and that they are doing so with my guidance.

    At the same time I would fight to change the law. Trying to coerce a school into breaking the law is stupid and sets a terrible example. Young kids lack the sense of scale and perspective to truly understand lawbreaking by the adults in their lives. To them it is just scary and confusing.

    Kids are bullied because they are perceived by high status kids to be weak targets. Any child who would be bullied for not conforming to saying the Pledge would almost certainly bullied for not conforming to something else, even if the Pledge were removed. It is a pointless exercize to try to remove every instance where childrens’ differences will show.

  35. Anne on November 7th, 2011 10:44 am

    Interesting post!

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in sharing your articles with other like-minded parent bloggers? If yes, please email me at info@atomicreach.com with Parents in the subject line.

    Thanks,
    Anne

  36. telegirl on November 7th, 2011 10:59 am

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I have to shout out to Shelly who put it so eloquently. I agree with her completely.

    The thing that disturbs me most about this is it is *our* generation that is seemingly causing the problems. The entitlement, the outer-reaches freaking out about everything. WTF? I understand being a conscientious objector but not to the point that you are objecting everything. And especially if it’s something that seems to me to be such a trivial matter given all the other things in this world that are so wrong.

  37. Kate on November 7th, 2011 11:56 am

    Battles, yo. Gotta know when to pick ’em.

    I personally don’t say the pledge. Well, if the me that feels the way I feel now went back to school, I wouldn’t say the pledge. But I’m an adult in an office and don’t have to mess with any of that shit anymore.

    My eight year old does, though, and I really don’t care. Kudos for the passion and activism and will to fight for what you believe in, and all – but pick something that matters.

  38. Livi on November 7th, 2011 1:26 pm

    No child is going to be ridiculed for not saying the pledge in THIS school…

    If they don’t want to go by the Seattle public schools’ rules – they should enroll their child in private school.

  39. Donna on November 7th, 2011 4:51 pm

    Jeeze. What a subject for people to fight about….
    Here in NM we are so overrun with Mexicans that don’t speak English, that they teach the Pledge in Spanish, as well as English.
    If you aren’t feeling patriotic, or proud of your country then don’t say it, but just like the national anthem, everyone should know it. Because seriously? Having a famous singer open the super bowl without knowing the words is embarrassing. And that’s no matter what you believe.

  40. Betsy on November 7th, 2011 7:16 pm

    But must our children vow their devotion to their country, whatever that means, every. single. day? Frankly it creeps me out. If our flag were black, red and yellow, like, say, the German flag, people would be screaming nationalism. I can see once a week at Monday assembly or something, but why on earth must it be every single day? It’s extreme and smacks of brainwashing to me.

  41. Tammy on November 7th, 2011 8:41 pm

    Just playing devils advocate but it may not be as cut and dried as it would appear.
    When my children were small we lived in the Netherlands and my eldest daughter attended the International School. Now I probably wouldn’t have done anything about it BUT I think I would have been a little weirded out with her pledging allegiance to the Netherlands.
    Perhaps they are foreign children and Parents?

  42. kristiina on November 8th, 2011 8:09 am

    In the 8th grade I sat out the pledge (more b/c I needed to finish my homework, but when asked I told the teacher it was my right not to say it) and my teacher chewed me out in front of the entire class. I said that damn pledge every day after that!

  43. kristiina on November 8th, 2011 8:09 am

    ps–that was in 1987

  44. GHM on November 8th, 2011 10:07 am

    In 5th grade, I too sat out the Pledge in protest because the flag did NOT seem to stand for those ideals. I was beat up on the playground.

  45. Amy on November 8th, 2011 2:50 pm

    Comforting ritual. I like that, Linda! And bravo for again getting people to think. I am the mom of two little boys. They go to a school that teaches through Integrated Thematic Instruction and emphasizes art and science. I don’t know if they say the pledge every day or just once in awhile, but I love the sense of community that we have at our school. We require parent participation…and if you don’t do the time, you don’t get to come back! Parents/grandparents/relatives are everywhere on campus, involved in the learning process. I don’t know if they say it, but I wouldn’t mind one bit. They need some comforting ritual in this crazy ass world that is spinning out of control. They need to be reminded what respect is – respect for themselves, their family & friends and yes, their country.

  46. Dana on November 8th, 2011 8:56 pm

    At my Catholic school, we said the pledge every morning and added an addendum that I didn’t know the kids at public school didn’t say until I was in high school.
    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic, for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Born and unborn, God bless America.”
    Talk about indoctrination.

  47. Jenni S on November 9th, 2011 8:30 am

    I always said the pledge. I know it’s not edgy, hipster or nonconformist, but I still would. I think Facebook is a bigger form of indoctrination than the Pledge of Allegiance.

  48. Megan on November 18th, 2011 10:56 pm

    I’m another one who can bear witness to how poorly a Jehovah’s Witness girl in my 5th grade class was treated over her silently and respectfully opting out of reciting the pledge. I think it’s completely out of line to train children to swear any kind of political allegiance to anything. Let’s leave that kind of business to us adults.

  49. Sarah on February 8th, 2012 3:24 pm

    There are 2 main reasons people refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance:

    1) “Under God” in the pledge was thrown in back in the 1950s, during the Red Scare, in order to somehow be a defense against the lack of religion in communist countries.
    2) Refusing to say the Pledge is done to preserve our right to to free speech.

    The pledge is forced patriotism and indoctrination. That is what communism and dictatorship does, not here.

  50. DO on February 25th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Pledge to truth and justice. America can become immoral,our nations leaders and its people can become misguided so truth and justice remain our goal,not the abstract allegiance to a flag.

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