…But putting the law aside, the question is whether the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited every day in schools.
What exactly do children take away from a daily recitation of the pledge? Are they taught about what pledging allegiance to their country actually means?
…There’s more that we should do. We need to bring civics education back to the schools so that kids understand what they are saying, why they are saying it, and why they don’t have to say it if they don’t want to.
Someone said to me this morning, “We all said the Pledge when we were kids and didn’t stop to think about it.”
Well, yes, we did. That’s not exactly something to be proud of. Besides these are different times — and it is really time that we recognize that kids need to know more than how to take a test.
These quotes are from The Answer Sheet: A School Survival Guide for Parents (And Everyone Else) written recently in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss. It references the ongoing debate over standing to say the Pledge of Allegiance highlighted recently by the actions of a local middle school student and the reaction of her mother, teacher, peers and school administration as well as the predicable involvement of the ACLU. The student refuses to give her “personal reason” for not standing. Her teacher has agreed to apologize as he is in violation of County policy.
I can’t help but wonder what rights the Constitution allows to Middle school students in relation to the First Amendment or any other provision. Students are children, and in Middle school, not typically of an age to be granted independence on most any level. Adult supervision is still required, even if we’re watching from a further distance to see how they’ll do in a particular situation.
What does this student, her mother, or lawyer have to prove? She should, indeed be shown civility. However, given the number of citizens fighting for her right to “sit down” I can’t help but believe that she does not grasp the severity of her choices. The administration of the school was surprised by the negative reaction of her peers to her choice. They seem to have underestimated the patriotism of the local student body.
I agree with Ms. Strauss, more explanation of who we are and why we do what we do is important for any student to become a good citizen. So here then for your consideration is the Oath of Citizenship taken for granted, perhaps, for too long.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.