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View Poll Results: Should kids be forced to recite the pledge of allegiance in school?

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  1. #1
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    Town divided after schools stop making kids recite the Pledge over concerns that it holds children who don't participate up to scorn

    WOODBURY, Vt. - No one is sure when daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance fell by the wayside at Woodbury Elementary School.
    But efforts to restore them have erupted into a bitter dispute in this town of about 800 residents, with school officials blocking the exercise from classrooms over concerns that it holds children who don't participate up to scorn.
    U.S. schoolchildren have long been able to opt out of reciting the pledge for religious reasons. But unlike other pledge controversies, this one centers on how and where schoolchildren say it, not whether they should.
    "The whole thing is tearing our community apart," said Heather Lanphear, 39, the mother of a first-grader and an opponent of reciting the pledge in the classroom.
    The brouhaha in the Vermont school began in September, when parent Ted Tedesco began circulating petitions calling for the return of pledge recitation as a daily practice in the 19th-century schoolhouse, which has 55 children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
    School officials agreed to resume it as a daily exercise, but not in the classroom.
    "We don't want to isolate children every day in their own classroom or make them feel they're different," said Principal Michaela Martin.
    Instead, starting last week, a sixth grade student was assigned to go around to the four classrooms before classes started, gathering anyone who wanted to say it and then walking them up creaky wooden steps to a second-floor gymnasium, where he led them in the pledge.
    About half the students chose to participate, Martin said.
    Tedesco, 55, a retired Marine Corps major, and others who signed his petitions didn't like that solution, calling it disruptive and inappropriate because it put young children in the position of having to decide between pre-class play time and leaving the classroom to say the pledge.
    "Saying the pledge in the classroom is legal, convenient and traditional," Tedesco said. "Asking kindergarten through sixth-graders who want to say the pledge to leave their classrooms to do so is neither convenient nor traditional."
    Martin and school board chairwoman Retta Dunlap defended the practice, saying it restored the pledge to the school as requested, preserved the rights of students who - for political or religious reasons - didn't want to participate, and gave others the opportunity to pledge their allegiance.
    "I was happy to have it upstairs. I think it's important that all the kids share in it together," said parent Ellen Demers, 42.
    On Friday, in front of a reporter and photographer, the routine changed again.
    Just before 8 a.m., Martin herded all the school's students - and a handful of teachers, parents and other community members who showed up that day - into a cramped foyer that adjoins the first-floor classrooms and told sixth-grader Nathan Gilbert, 12, to lead them in the pledge.
    Most recited it; some didn't.
    Afterward, 10 adults streamed down the steps and outside, forming a circle around Dunlap for a heated discussion in which they pressed for an explanation of why it couldn't be said in the classrooms.
    The format should be left to the school, Dunlap said.
    "The children will get used to it, and they'll know what's expected of them," she said.
    In an interview, Martin said the point of having the whole school gather for the pledge was to protect children who don't participate in it.
    "If you're in a classroom with 15 students and you choose not to say the pledge, it's much more obvious than a group setting. When they're saying it in a group of 55, it's may not be so obvious. We don't want to isolate children," she said.
    Tedesco pulled his two children out of the school last week but says the reason was academic quality, not the pledge. He plans to continue lobbying for classroom recitation.
    "There's no way a heckler's veto should abridge the constituti

  2. #2
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    It was good enough for us it should be good enough for them. If you don't like it live in a country where they don't recite it.


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  3. #3
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    I'm totally with having the Pledge of Allegiance recited in class, and have no problem with making the kids recite the Pledge. However, I say let the kid choose whether to say "under god" or not. I thought I was going to run afoul in the academy on this point. I don't believe there is a god, but don't discount that there could be one (I'm somewhere between Agnostic and Atheist I guess). So when we had to say the Pledge during the academy, I was worried. I love my country, and love the Pledge. I just don't say "under god" when reciting the Pledge. But luckily for me, no one gave me any problems about leaving those two words out. Maybe that was because where I stood in formation, only a few people standing next to me could even hear me. Maybe an instructor would have ripped me a new one for it.

    I'm not meaning to morph this thread into one on religion rather than about the Pledge, but I just think that one slice of choice should be in the school rules. One thing I don't approve of is people saying to not have the Pledge recited at all because it mentions god. Many people believe in god and love their god, and they should be able to express that while reciting the Pledge as the Pledge was originally written. I have no problem with that whatsoever.

    But put me down in the pro-reciting the Pledge in school column.

  4. #4
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    "Force" is a strong word. I think teachers should work hard to teach our children what makes our country great; personal freedom, individual rights and responsibilities, the Bill of Rights, etc. Then let the children choose whether or not they want to recite the pledge.

    I also have issue with "forcing" children of varying religous and spiritual upbringings to say "under God". Especially when it's a government school.
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  5. #5
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    the Pledge of Allegiance - the National Anthem - the National Prayer - anything that instills pride in their heritage as Americans should be "highly encouraged" - freedom of speech is just that - freedom to say what you want without fear of retribution (within reason of course)

    of course if they wanna follow the "right to remain silent" i'm fine with that too...

    and not trying to start a holy war - but the US was founded on principles "Under God" - sorry, but that's the downright truth - the freedom of religion is the freedom to practice whatever religion (or lack there of) that you like - not force my children, me, my neighbors' children, my aunt's friend's sister-in-law's cousin's kids to NOT practice whatever religion they'd like - sorry for the small rant on that - but that seems like censorship to me when you tell me and my family that "you can't say such and such"...

    course, i could just be misunderstanding the definition of censorship
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twan007 View Post
    and not trying to start a holy war - but the US was founded on principles "Under God"
    This is not true. "Under God" wasn't added to the Pledge of Alligence until 1952. [source]

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." -Thomas Jefferson

    And the US was founded, sir, on principles of throwing off the yoke of an oppressive government that over-taxed them and did indeed favored one reiligion over all others. They did not want to see history repeat itself. Therefore, I submit to you that the US was founded on pinciples that we do not embrace a single belief or religion over another.

    I challenge you to show me where the founding fathers supported this. "In God We Trust" wasn't added to currency until the Civil War. Before then, it was imperative that Church and State remain sperated. But so many people then, as now, have forgotten the spirit on which this country is founded. This is why we are turning into the very type of government we fought those 200-something years ago.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    I challenge you to show me where the founding fathers supported this.
    Almost all of the founding fathers believed in "a god" even if it wasn't the typical Christian version.

    Many of them were deists, others Christian. NONE of them spoke against religion, but near all of them were concerned with denominational conflicts.

    Surely you can come up with a better challenge than that.
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  8. #8
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    I dont know, We have a lot of traditions in the USA, and I grew up learning a lot of them. I think we are lossing a lot of them because peopple like to piss and moan about damn near everything these days.

    Pretty soon they wont declare Christmas as a holiday....... I dont push my beliefs on anyone and if I am doing something and you join in, fine great and dandy, but if you dont agree with me and stand to the side, its not going to hurt my feelings but respect my opinion and let me be.

    If the pledge is being recited and you disagree, you should be able to keep your mouth shut, but let everyone else continue as they please. But you should not be forced either to do something you disagree with.
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  9. #9
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    These two issues has been fought over before. Does any one else, especially here in California, remember Michael Newdow?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Newdow

    Then there is the issue with the Jehovah Witnesses who, if I remember correctly, have a problem with saying the pledge because there is something in their religion that either teaches or forbids them to take oaths or pledges.

    I support the theory in teaching the children about our government and then let them decide whether of not the want to say the pledge in its entirety or parts of it, but don't force those who wish to recite the pledge not to be able to.

    Also we need to teach children not to scorn or bully those whose beliefs are different.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTR man View Post
    Also we need to teach children not to scorn or bully those whose beliefs are different.
    Can you imagine what the world would be like if that actually happened? It would be nice, huh?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTR man View Post

    Also we need to teach children not to scorn or bully those whose beliefs are different.
    Some adults need to learn it first.




  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    This is not true. "Under God" wasn't added to the Pledge of Alligence until 1952.

    bah - you missed my point -

    (edited to save space - figured I didn't need to quote all of your post )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    "Force" is a strong word. I think teachers should work hard to teach our children what makes our country great; personal freedom, individual rights and responsibilities, the Bill of Rights, etc. Then let the children choose whether or not they want to recite the pledge.

    I also have issue with "forcing" children of varying religous and spiritual upbringings to say "under God". Especially when it's a government school.

    I agree that they should not be forced, if they choose to not participate then fine. Don't take away the ability of the other children (who actually respect what it takes to fly that flag) to stand up and salute it every single day. Even if the children don't yet understand what they are saluting it teaches that respect should be shown at times without knowledge of why. In other words, if your parents tell you that you salute the flag and recite the pledge, you do it. You will learn eventually what you are saluting and will probably have a better respect for it.

    Also, the pledge says "under God", not "under the Christian God, father of Heaven and Earth, giver of life, savior of mankind, and the only one who should be worshipped. So all you Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc. are wrong and should sit down now." So what is wrong with saying under God for those children? They can mean Allah, Buddha, the tree in their front yard, whatever.
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  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Rhino:
    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." -Thomas Jefferson
    I see your quote, and raise you 14...

    Fisher Ames, (Author of the First Amendment):
    "Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples are captivating and noble....In no Book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant, and by teaching all the same they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith."
    John Adams:
    “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
    John Adams:
    "Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817]
    John Quincy Adams:
    “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?" “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"?
    Benjamin Franklin:
    “ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech
    Benjamin Franklin:
    “In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]
    Alexander Hamilton:
    "For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." [1787 after the Constitutional Convention]
    Patrick Henry:
    “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]
    John Jay:
    “ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.
    Thomas Jefferson:
    “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]
    James Madison:
    “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]
    James McHenry:
    Public utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness.
    Jebediah Morse:
    "To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."
    George Washington:
    “ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.”
    Inscribed on the Liberty Bell:
    “ Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof” [Leviticus 25:10]
    Rhino posted:
    I challenge you to show me where the founding fathers supported this.
    Challenge accepted, (and met).

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    I believe...

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    When I attended, and later when I worked in a school, we said the pledge every morning. There was a designated time at the beginning of each day to say the pledge. Students were not "forced" to say anything, but all were welcome to join in. Nearly everyone chose to say the pledge. Perhaps I'm just a product of my environment, but I feel that's the way it should be. Keep it in the schools. If individuals choose not to recite the words then that is their right as well.
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    I don't think having kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance is likely to teach them about patriotism or democratic principles, because most don't even understand the meaning of abstract terms like "allegiance" and "the Republic for which it stands". Having kids recite it in the sing-song, rote memorization, go-along-with-the-other-sheep way it is usually recited actually goes against the true meaning of a "pledge of allegiance", which should be a personal promise of loyalty that one believes oneself to be willing and able to carry out.

    I said the Pledge of Allegiance thousands of times in school as a child, without really understanding it, just because that's what the rest of the flock was doing. I didn't mind or think much about it, and don't think it did me any harm, though it didn't do me any good either. I learned a lot more about patriotism and democratic principles from civics, geography, and history classes, and later from reading stuff on the internet (including on this forum). So if I said it now as an adult I would actually mean it.

    I don't think kids should be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance if they don't want to, but I also don't see a need to make a big deal out of it if some teachers and schools want to lead the entire class in saying it, as long as kids who remain silent don't face any punishment from the school or teacher. It's just one of many rituals kids practice in school. If some rituals start getting banned just because some families quibble with them, pretty soon you'll have to ban every school activity--there are probably some people who object to some phrases in various songs and art and crafts projects kids do in school, not to mention the teaching of one text or interpretation over another in history, science, and literature classes. You can't please everyone, and once you open the door to removing some activities just because some families object, other families will want other activities removed, and pretty soon school will be even more boring than it already is.

    As for being scorned by other kids for not saying it, that's just part of the price kids who are different enough from the majority pay for being different, and chances are if they are that different with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance, whether because they are Jehovah Witnesses, foreign nationals, or anarcho-syndicists, then they are likely to be different enough with respect to more important issues that will get them scorned even more. Jehovah's witnesses, for instance, do not celebrate any holidays including Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or their own birthdays, and do not smoke, drink alcohol, use recreational drugs, or engage in premarital sex--these issues are much more important to kids than whether someone recites something with them for a few minutes each morning. Any scorn they get for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance is likely to be the least of their concerns. Learning to deal with such scorn can be part of a character-building process they will need to prepare them for the scorn they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives if they maintain beliefs and practices that are different from those of the majority in their community. But if they really can't stand such scorn their families need to move to areas where there are more families like them, enroll them in private schools specially designed for kids from similar families, or teach them to just go along with the herd and "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    I don't think having kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance is likely to teach them about patriotism or democratic principles, because most don't even understand the meaning of abstract terms like "allegiance" and "the Republic for which it stands".
    My six year old does, and he is proud to lead the pledge.


    I said the Pledge of Allegiance thousands of times in school as a child, without really understanding it, just because that's what the rest of the flock was doing.
    The sheep assumes everyone else is a sheep. I think that may be a mistake.


    I learned a lot more about patriotism and democratic principles from civics, geography, and history classes, and later from reading stuff on the internet (including on this forum). So if I said it now as an adult I would actually mean it.
    If?
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    My six year old does, and he is proud to lead the pledge.




    The sheep assumes everyone else is a sheep. I think that may be a mistake.




    If?
    Well as an adult I haven't been in any settings where the other sheep are saying the pledge of allegiance, and it's not the kind of thing one says in the absence of such settings. But if I were in such a setting now I would say it and mean it because I understand it now, unlike when I was in school. I guess I'm just a bit slower to learn than your six-year-old! Or maybe I just wasn't lucky enough to have you as a tutor!

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    You really are a sheep, Jenna. You won't do something unless a large group of people around you are doing it too? You know all the cool kids are smoking cigarettes, sneaking out of thier house, and having sex so does that mean you are going to start that too? Although I may not have opportunity to say it as much anymore, I still say it on occasion. I do sing the national anthem often though.

    One question Jenna, if the crowd you were in left their hats on, didn't put their right hand over their heart, and didn't sing the lyrics of the National Anthem, would you?
    "The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of its blessings; the inherent vice of Socialism is the equal sharing of its miseries." -Winston Churchill

 

 
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