Historically, the handbook for the Bedford Area School District in Georgia required students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Any student who refused to do so could be subject to disciplinary action.
Now the situation has changed. According to NBC Atlanta affiliate WJAC:
6News spoke Thursday to the district’s superintendent, who said that while the district has strong American ideals, they need to ensure their policies are in line with the law.
In case you’re not sure which law the super is referring to it’s the First Amendment, which evidently contains an unspoken clause that ensures the freedom not to speak.
But fear not. Not all is lost. The Associated Press reports via station WMCH that students will still be expected to stand each morning to participate in the school’s “Wolf Pack” chant. I’m guessing the Wolf Pack is the name given to the school’s sports teams.
Speaking of sports, one gets the uncomfortable sense that this policy is imitative of the one currently under debate by warring factions of the National Football League, many of whom never made it past elementary school.
Lara Zelski, the principal of Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and one of the driving forces behind the policy change told the Daily Mail that a K-5 leadership team will be working with students over the next few months to create a school pledge that everyone can be comfortable with in the morning. According to Zelski, “This pledge will focus on students’ civic responsibility to their school family, community, country and our global society.”
Except for the part about the “global society,” whatever that is, the Pledge of Allegiance already has those other points covered.
Also, are we to understand that students will not have the option to sit out the “school pledge” by citing their First Amendment rights? That’s assuming of course that students from K-5 have any idea what their First Amendment rights are.
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- Illinois teacher fired after confronting student about not standing for Pledge of Allegiance
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