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  1. #1
    Hang 'Em High Wray's Avatar
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    Default Pledge of Allegiance...

    Schools still struggling with Pledge policy.


    It's a new school year, but an old fight is brewing in American classrooms. Teachers and administrators around the country are scratching their heads once again over the Pledge of Allegiance.

    The courts have consistently ruled that students have the right not to recite the pledge in public schools. But now some First Amendment advocates are taking it one step further, arguing that the law compels educators to inform kids at the beginning of school that the decision is entirely up to them.

    They're advocating a "Miranda warning" for the Pledge -- an administrative notice to students that they have the right to remain silent.

    “The Pledge of Allegiance creates a constitutional problem. You have to tell students they can opt out,” the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told FOX News.

    New Mexico dealt with this question last month when its education secretary upheld that students are permitted to opt out of the Pledge, but rejected an ACLU-backed amendment that would require schools to inform parents and students that they have the option.

    In Florida, schools have tried to resolve uncertainty by announcing a new policy — students don't have to participate, as long as they have a letter from Mom and Dad.

    These are just the latest in a litany of challenges to the Pledge and its place in the classroom.

    Americans have recited the tribute to the stars and stripes since the oath was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892. But Bellamy's pledge did not include the words "under God," which were added by Congress in 1954 during the McCarthy era, when Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union — an atheist nation — were high in the United States.

    Thirty-six states now have laws requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited daily in public schools. But the oath as it's written does not sit well with some Americans.

    “The Pledge doesn’t even state the truth. We are not one nation under God," Lynn said. "I don’t think we should lie to students, and there’s no way we can require them to say it.”

    But supporters of the Pledge insist that the words are both constitutional and an important part of our national heritage.

    “There has been a recurring effort by the ACLU and others to try to stop the Pledge of Allegiance from being said. The fact of the matter is that the American people like the Pledge of Allegiance, they like it the way it is,” Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, told FOXNews.com.

    “The teachers are government employees, their paychecks are paid by the taxpayers, and the American people support the Pledge. I’m with the American people,” Schlafly said.

    The majority of Americans do, in fact, overwhelmingly support the Pledge of Allegiance in its current form. A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll from November of 2005 showed that 90 percent of Americans approve of the oath. Only 7 percent of people polled said they would change the language of the Pledge, while three percent of Americans were undecided.

    The Pledge's popularity aside, the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that mandating a student to participate in the oath was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

    Now the ACLU and other critics of the Pledge are taking the dispute a step further — arguing that students, whether they do or don't support the oath, should be told up front that they are not required to recite the words.

    They lost the first round in New Mexico last month, when state Education Secretary Veronica Garcia ruled not to change state policy — which requires that the Pledge be recited daily — to inform students of their right to opt out.

    "The department believes that the existing rule and practice in schools respects the rights of all students," Garcia said a statement. "Any issues related to rights of students will be handled at the local school district level," the statement read.

    New Mexico ACLU Director Peter Simonson protested the ruling, telling the Associated Press, "I think it's a cop-out not to affirmatively state that students have a First Amendment right not to participate in the Pledge." Simonson declined to elaborate when contacted by FOXNews.com.

    In Florida, ACLU attorney Randall Marshall successfully argued a case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of high school student, Cameron Frazier, who abstained from reciting the Pledge because of “personal political beliefs” and, according to the lawsuit, was “singled out and humiliated” by his teacher.

    “We made the case that students must be informed that they are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” Marshall told FOXNews.com.

    "It’s not a challenge to the content of the Pledge. Only that students be informed that they are not required to recite it."

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium
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    I sometimes irrationally think things like.......December 2012 can't come soon enough.

  3. #3
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wray View Post
    In Florida, ACLU attorney Randall Marshall successfully argued a case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of high school student, Cameron Frazier, who abstained from reciting the Pledge because of “personal political beliefs” and, according to the lawsuit, was “singled out and humiliated” by his teacher.
    On the one hand, it makes sense that this country was built on free speech, on the other hand though, if your "personal politicial beliefs" are such that you can't even pledge allegiance to your country, then I'm not sure we need you here.

    I mean at the very least you should be able to get out "I pledge allegiance to the...United States of America...One nation...indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". I personally have no problem with the whole thing, though.

  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High Wray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    On the one hand, it makes sense that this country was built on free speech, on the other hand though, if your "personal politicial beliefs" are such that you can't even pledge allegiance to your country, then I'm not sure we need you here.
    That's the whole point, though, billy. We don't need him here, but he, along with his personal, political, religious and social beliefs are certainly welcome here (that is, of course, as long as they aren't breaking any laws). That's the beauty of this country and its foundation. As much as I may despise someones opinions, they still have every right to feel that way.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    What is next, the kids has the Constitutional right not to be forced to attend school until a certain age?

    There has to be some common beliefs that we hold or it is anarchy. The vast majority of Americans support the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Maybe remove the under God part, as it was not part of the original pledge, maybe that will make it more palapable to some.

    But damn, some people hate this country so much I wonder why the hell they are here.

    If they think they have it tough saying the Pledge in the morning, they can just check out the schools rituals in muslim countries for comparison.
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  6. #6
    Eruption lacy_vious's Avatar
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    I personally don't have a problem with this at all.

    Don't get me wrong, I say the pledge at every opportunity that it arises, but I will defend your and my right not to say it as well. This isn't a fascist country. We are not Nazi Germany being forced "Heil Hitler." Part of the Bill of Rights is our freedom of speech and that includes not speaking.

    Granted, as long as I was cognizant of what the pledge was, I was also cognizant of my right to not have to say it.

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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    What I've never quite grasped is why the pledge needs to be said every day. What, people's allegiance is measured in twenty four hour increments?
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    What I've never quite grasped is why the pledge needs to be said every day. What, people's allegiance is measured in twenty four hour increments?
    Great point, never really thought of it that way.
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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    What I've never quite grasped is why the pledge needs to be said every day. What, people's allegiance is measured in twenty four hour increments?
    well, it speaks back to a conversation wruff, ziggy and I were having last week or so. What role does the public school system, if any, play in establishing, promoting and instilling a given political/patriotic and nationalistic pride, doctrine and belief system? Should they play a role in this at all? What function do public schools serve? Are they simply there to teach kids how to read and write OR are they there as a representative, an extension of the establishment?

    Private schools, particularly religious schools, exist not only to teach abcs and 123s but to forward a particular philsophical and religious agenda and belief system. Are the public schools not the secular side of that coin?

    I haven't made up my mind yet on this but it seems to me that if we have private schools that forward a particular philosophical, religious and political idea (and it's different at the various types of schools) then the public schools would then do the same, but since there's no official god, the doctrine would be centered around secular citizenship, patriotism and nationalism.

    I don't know.

    As far as the pledge, seems to me that the very idea of pledging alliegance has itself become so political that it's not even a matter of pledging allegiance to the United States but rather declaring some sort of political statement.

    While some may say "have we gotten to the point where some people can't even pledge allegiance to the country" and state it as something having to do with the individual, I would say "have we really gotten to the point where EVEN the pledge has become so political that many have to think twice before participating?"
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  10. #10
    Hang 'Em High Wray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    If they think they have it tough saying the Pledge in the morning, they can just check out the schools rituals in muslim countries for comparison.
    You've made a good point here, but not the one you were trying to make. Middle eastern countries force their populace to do so many things against their own will. That kind of thing shouldn't be happening here.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk
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    WTF happened between 1972 and now?

    It was always clear that saying the pledge was voluntary. Then again, the kids that didn't had a rough time on the playground later - sometimes, but not always.

    The ACLU has nothing better to do?

    Our public schools have to waste fucking time AND money to re-write policy? Will the ACLU reimburse the schools that they are trying to assfuck over this issue?

    If there was a just God, the ACLU's main offices would have been in the south tower of the World Trade Center.
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  12. #12
    The Frantic Antic TopTimi's Avatar
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    I can remember reciting the "Pledge" every morning at school. We had an appointed student from class each week that would "lead." It became so mundane that it became just a recital, nothing more. Every once in a while, a speaker would come and remind us of exactly what we were saying. Just as in many things, we need to be reminded of important rituals/customs that we might take a laxidazical (sp) attitude towards. Everyone in my class had to participate minus the one Jehovah Witness. I'm all for the choice in the matter and I like the idea of a parental signature. It should alert parents to priorities, tradition, loyalty and values. I don't know about the "God" thing. Keep it or omit the phrase. It would almost seem easier to omit, just to keep the peace.
    As a FireFighter, I recently "Pledged My Allegence" at a ceremony last Friday, Sept 11, 2009. Now that it is not a daily repetitive ritual, I fully embraced the meaning, tradition and loyalty to my country and fellow countrymen.
    I like the idea of the "Pledge." How about on Monday mornings and Fridays towards the end of the school day.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Our public schools are preparing our children to function on a level a little above idiot level, yet my son gets messages sent home from his school that cheese is not an approved snack and that he is not allowed to eat it.

    I can understand if I sent him to school with a can of JIF peanut butter, but cheese?
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  14. #14
    Hang 'Em High Wray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    Our public schools have to waste fucking time AND money to re-write policy? Will the ACLU reimburse the schools that they are trying to assfuck over this issue?
    I'm a bit confused on how it would cost any money to simply inform children that they have the right not to recite the pledge...

  15. #15
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    I may get in a bit of flak about what I am going to type but oh well....

    I don't have an issue with it because through our teachings of young kids, we can mold them into hopefully outstanding human beings. Newsweek just had a cover story that babies are racist. Go figure. I always believe that kids are born pretty evil. We teach them tolerance, sharing, love and everything else in that separates us from the animals. So I don't have a problem with "lying" to them a bit by imparting a view that our president that he is wise. They should also have this impression that our country is great and they should be proud to live here. Now as they get older, they will find out that presidents are corrupt, our country does evil things and Nancy Pelosi is a bitch.

    We teach kids fairy tales of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and that storks drop kids off. What harm can be done by installing a little patriotism to our country that is not party based? I am sure they see or hear worse things on TV or on the computer.

 

 

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