Do you do the Pledge?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by pwhatley, Aug 25, 2007.

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  1. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    Ok, I don't know if I'd fall into the younger or older category. I have taught in both inner-city and middle class schools, and 1st to 10th grade. I am a MWF with 2 young kids. (This is starting to sound like an ad for a date...)

    Here is my take on the "religious" aspect. When I was young, I was raised agnostically because my parents both came from mixed marriages and wanted us to be able to choose for ourselves. Later, for many reasons, I became very angry with God. Now, I have fallen into a Christian belief system that is very open and accepting of other beliefs.

    During the time that I was angry, I was uncomfortable with saying "under God". However, at no point in time did I feel that it was OK to be disrepectful of the Flag or the US. I would stand quietly, hand on chest, or I would recite all but UG.

    People have made valid points on both sides. At least we have the opportunity to have this discussion because our freedom protects it (and us.) I don't always agree with all of the politics, laws, or leaders of our country. But I am a part of the family, so to speak. Like someone else pointed out, I don't agree with everything but I do know that I will stand (respect) and support my country.

    I don't have a problem with people who don't want to mindlessly recite the pledge. But then it is our responsibility to make sure it is not mindless or without understanding. If UG makes you uncomfortable then you have the freedom not to say. It is ok to take that path, too. But if you are enjoying the freedom of deciding whether to say the pledge or not, I hope you are thankful and respect the fact that you have the opportunity. that alone, IMO, is worth standing silently.

    FWIW, I agree that we should really (as a nation) decide whether UG should remain in the pledge.
     
  2. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Not wanting to accuse at all,
    The "lack of respect" accusation comes from Older to Younger
    and
    The "our rights are being stepped on" accusation comes from Younger to Older.

    Don't get me wrong, I was young (16 -25) during Nam and the civil Rights "fight" and many of the issues I support now, I had a different "feeling" toward or level of "passion" toward.
    Time and age has formed our (older) view of the issues.(I was at Woodstock the first one)
    Right out of College I was Very Liberal, now I have a more Conservative feelings (I would say I am a Conservative Democrat) But things Like parenthood, and working a "real" job (as opposed a part time job, teenage level) made me think differently.
    I am in my Mid 50s and I have taught for 34 years (middle school).
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2007
  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Ms. Teacher,
    You said in your last paragraph exactly what I was thinking. When I am reciting the pledge, I am giving an oath of loyalty to my country, not an oath of loyalty to God. Then when I say "under God", I am stating that the country I've chosen to live in is a country that has decided to declare itself under the auspices of (a) God. Well, isn't that true? Do I have to believe the same way as the majority? No. I don't even have to say "under God". But I sure would feel that I owe my loyalty to a country that allows this.

    The pledge isn't about a belief in God. It's about me giving an oath of fidelity to my country.

    And yes, my students know how I feel and they show respect for my choice to say it, their classmate's choice to say it, and the choice of those who do not wish to pledge loyalty to a country in which they are not citizens or do not want to pledge loyalty to any institution. (I'll give my loyalty to God during our moment of silence.)

    From a teacher older than the hills in a small rural community in Georgia, (go for the stereotype....)
    But who doesn't feel or act old and comes from liberal New England stock. (Ha! Don't typecast me because of my age or region.)
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The problem with saying all of that shouldbeasleep is for younger kids they tend to lean on every word their teachers say and not always construe them correctly even if it appears as so. My first instinct when I read those words is that the kids who DO have a family that believes in God would start to wonder if there is something wrong with doing so. It's just the choice of wording. It's lengthy and I would be afraid that the crowd that is old enough to start thinking but young enough to cling onto their teacher's opinions would start to wonder in a direction that you didn't intend especially since it is intended to show respect to all. It's kinda like political stuff. Teachers try to be bias but the more you say, the less that's true. Maybe someone else construes it in a different way, but that was my gut instinct even though I know what your intent probably is.
     
  5. I.D. Clair

    I.D. Clair Companion

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    I really like looking at this issue from your viewpoint. :up:
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I misunderstood. I thought you were saying how to say it to students, not how you percieved it. Oops.
     
  7. I.D. Clair

    I.D. Clair Companion

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    :2up:AWESOME:2up:
     
  8. I.D. Clair

    I.D. Clair Companion

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    Not sure what you mean: how to say it to students (?)
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I read it too fast and you were saying what you were THINKING not what you would directly say to students. I was reading it as a possible approach for students. For younger students, less is best unless more is needed especially since they can be so easily swayed by things we don't intend. That's all. Good approach. I just jumped the gun a little and applied it to a "speech to give students" and you hadn't made one yet. :blush:
     
  10. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I was just talking (writing) about the same thing you said earlier--younger children being swayed by their teacher's beliefs. It wouldn't make sense to explain such a viewpoint of the pledge to them.

    The discussion here on this topic has made me realize that I haven't really dissected the pledge with these older students, and I'm sure to most of them it's the big mumble that is said in the morning. I will take care of it, but in an extremely careful manner. I really don't think I'd put my 2 cents in about my viewpoint, not only because this group is still a bit too young to take a personal stand without being swayed, but also because I have the son of a very vocal and popular, ultra conservative Christian minister in my room. And half the kids attend his church! So I'm not going to open this door! (Yes, I hear the "chicken" calls.)

    I think it would be interesting to create a poem sort of like what Irish Dave had, but personal to each child. I could print the words off to the side like his, then let the kids write what each word or phrase means to them. I tried it myself, and I think it looks quite poetic! (Course I cheated and just deleted some and added some. Don't sue me for copyright infringement, ID.)
     
  11. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    No copyright here but the estate of Red Skelton may say something. That is where I got most of what I posted.
    I realize that a pledge is not popular with Liberal minded people where as conservative minded people may think it is sacrilege not to have a pledge (pun intended)
    :toofunny::2up:
     
  12. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    as a part of our state constitution we must say it once a week (but we do it daily)
     
  13. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    As Conservative & Patriotic as I am, I do find the term "must say it" offensive! I feel people (kids) should want to say it! not be made to say it.
    Students should be taught it, to understand it, then the parents and the students can decide whether to say it or not. BUT they should (must) be respectful of the time that is put aside for saying the pledge. Since it then becomes a respect issue and not religious or oath of fealty.


    I may not like your point of view but I will defend your right to have it to the death (well maybe not death but until it hurts me real bad :eek: )
     
  14. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    sorry-let me clarify-according to our state constitution the pledge must be said (as in by the principal or such) once a week. Students are required to stand but need not participate. (We still do it daily)
     
  15. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I am so thankful that I teach in a Catholic school. We say the pledge every morning, and no one questions our right to do so!
     
  16. dumbdiety

    dumbdiety Comrade

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    Whew....how did I miss this thread? I was bored and stumbled here, and man this is good.
    I'm enjoying both viewpoints. Myself? I say UG because it is a part of the pledge to my country, but that doesn't mean I'm pledging to any kind of God.
    As for my students, I make them all stand and show respect, but not make them say the pledge. They all do anyway, but I don't make them say it. Even my ADDs (or ADHD or whatever the acronym is now...) stay still long enough to show respect during the pledge.
     
  17. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    If you mean no one questions your right to force your students to say the pledge, or include "under God", you're correct. A private religious school does have that right.

    No one here (or anywhere, AFAIK) has questioned anyone's personal right to say the pledge.
     
  18. lajoers3

    lajoers3 Comrade

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    I am an Australian and we don't pledge allegiance to our flag. I don't believe there is any such thing and personally find it rather unusual and odd to pledge allegiance to an inanimate object. I think of myself as very patriotic so pledging allegiance to my country and the people in it is one thing (we don't even do that) but i'm not sure about the pledge to a flag. I'm also a conservative, reformed Christian and never have I ever heard of a Christian flag - i'd love to see what it looks like????

    I would like to say that I would take the stance of the JW that if I were in America and others were saying the pledge of allegiance, I would sit or stand with them and be still and silent.
     
  19. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    This is what the Christian flag looks like and some history behind it, in case you are interested:
    here
     
  20. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Do your Servicemen (women) Swear an oath upon entering the Army or Navy etc?
     
  21. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    With 9/11 just a few days away, it is a great time to talk about what the pledge means. I feel like we have to pass it on to the upcoming generations. It is something that unites us as a country. Some kind of book making, or interviewing veterans, or researching the pledge etc., might be a good project for next week.

    I have very young kids. I try to teach them what respect for the flag means, and why it is important to me. I believe when I say the pledge, I am supporting all those who have given their lives for our freedom to even say or not say the pledge! The priest who is in charge of our school has served in Iraq the last 2 summers, so the kids are very aware of the war and they pray for our troops daily, of their own accord. I try to connect the idea of soldiers in Iraq with showing respect for the pledge and flag - whatever anyone thinks of the war, I do think everyone seems to be in favor of respecting our troops. To me, respecting the pledge shows respect for the guys and gals over there.

    If you can give them something hands on, and some real life insight to our pledge, I think they will understand what respect is and want to show respect.
     
  22. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    You're kind of taking it too literally. I don't think most in America think we're actually pledging allegiance to a flag per se, but to the republic for which it stands. The flag itself is just symbolic -- if they changed the flag tomorrow to be green, yellow, and orange, I don't think most would suddenly consider their allegiance to the US void
     
  23. sjnrae

    sjnrae Rookie

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    I’ve been lurking at the boards here for a while. I’m currently working towards my bachelor’s in elementary education, so, though I have worked with school aged children for years, I am not a teacher yet. I had planned to introduce myself before making my first post, but found this topic really interesting. So here’s my thoughts:
    I agree that if you don't want kids to mindlessly recite, then teach them about what the pledge means and they can choose to stand respectfully and say it, or stand respectfully and quietly.
    I personally have no problem with the term "Under God". I am a Christian and choose to say these words. While I can understand why some people may wish that the words under God were not legally a part of the pledge, I think we are all extremely fortunate to live in a country were we have a choice over whether or not we say those words. It is because of my belief in God that I don't feel that anyone should be forced to include UG in the pledge. I would not want to live in a country that could force me not to say "under God".
    The issue of saying “under God” aside, I grew up saying the pledge everyday in school, as well as singing a different patriotic song each week. It was a part of our routine, and while we may not have learned exactly what the pledge meant or that we were swearing fealty to anything, we knew that we were showing respect and support for the country that we lived in. I would like to say the pledge as a part of my daily class routine in the future.
     
  24. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    The pledge is something I take very seriously. My husband is currently deployed, and the kids are amazingly sensitive to that. From the first day of school, I explained why the pledge is important and why we say it. The first week I definitely had my kids that tested me. I would just ignore them and continue to demonstrate how I wanted it done. Later in the day, when I had an opportunity to speak to them alone, I would say, "you know, that really disappointed me this morning when you were being disrespectful to the flag. That hurts my feelings." (I emphasize to the children to use their words.) Now, all of my kids stand tall and proud when they say it. I love it. :)
     
  25. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    I just posted after reading the original post- but now I have to add to it after reading some of the other posts throughout the thread. I am simply appalled. Everyone has their right to an opinion and religion - I strongly believe that. BUT if you CHOOSE to live in the UNITED STATES then you should HONOR and RESPECT the grounds upon which it was built. If you don't feel ANYTHING when you see the flag waving in the wind, then you are missing the importance of it. You live in the US and BECAUSE that flag waves and what it REPRESENTS, you have the ability to walk down the street and have your own thoughts and opinions....therefore, when you see that flag, you should feel PROUD that you are here, that you have that RIGHT. You should feel GRATEFUL and RESPECTFUL of those who FOUGHT and DIED for your RIGHT to have the life that you have. It is guaranteed you would not have it in any other country. If you don't like it, GET OUT. I understand if you don't want to say the pledge. But if you aren't willing to sacrifice anything at all, then why should this country honor and take care of you?

    As for those of you who don't understand why we have children say the pledge because there is no way they could possibly understand it, I hope you don't teach the rest of your subjects with this mindset. We can't expect a child to say 3x3=9 and understand WHY. We have to EXPLAIN it and SHOW them. The same goes for how to be a good citizen, the pledge, and what our country is about. Every moment is a learning experience - not just the teacher's manuals.
     
  26. I.D. Clair

    I.D. Clair Companion

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    Just curious what others think about this?
     
  27. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

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    we do it some kids say it some kids dont. it doesnt bother if they dont its there right.
    The above also comes in handy when we talk about the amendments
     
  28. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    The only question I have are you making them say the pledge or making them respect the time set aside for saying it (Being quiet, Not moving, not distracting the ones who say it)

    I contacted the head of the local Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation to ask how treat the pledge with them, he told me They are to remain respectful of others who are saying the pledge they are to remain standing if standing or remain seated if seated and remain still and silent.
     
  29. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    The easy answer to this is I require they say it and show respect. However, I am currently in a private Christian school and therefore the children come from family backgrounds who have nothing against it.

    When I was in the public school, I knew which children were from backgrounds who did not believe in saying it- in that case, it was their choice of religion. I requested that they stand respectfully, but they were not required to say it. I have had all but one of those students' families agree that they could say the pledge, but not "Under God". I have no problem if they stop during that part then resume at "indivisible". I would rather them do that then not say it at all.

    I, personally, feel "Under God" is important, BUT, that's not what the pledge is about. I feel it represents how lucky we are and those that gave us that ability. If someone doesn't believe in God, I feel that should not interrupt their ability to show respect to those who gave all for our country.
     
  30. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I remember the song by ART GARFUNKEL

    MY LITTLE TOWN

    In My Little Town, I grew up believing
    God keeps His eye on us all.
    And he used to lean upon me as
    I pledged allegiance to the Wall. ....

    I wonder how many American Children "pledge allegiance to the Wall" ?
    Not being told what it means and why we do it!

    Who is responsible for teaching it? (Parents?) Should Schools be responsible to be the first to teach American Children patriotism? I find many parents fail to teach patriotism!
     
  31. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    Hah. I totally agree with you. Sadly, some (not all) parents don't seem to be teaching much of anything today. Schools seem to be left to teach respect, patriotism, right from wrong, and tons of other "necessary" knowledge.
     
  32. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Actually I don't find that parents are responsible for teaching the pledge. How many of us say the pledge outside of the school building? That isn't something that is provided through the course of normal parenting. Respect is, but not learning the pledge.

    Thanks to this thread and to the 9/11 thread I decided at the very last minute (this morning 9/11) to page my Principal and suggest she teach about the pledge in the morning assembly. At first she thought I meant go over the gory part of 9/11. I told her teaching the pledge didn't mean we had to bring up the terrorist attacks but that today, being patriot day, is a good time to teach it. She did!! Then I also noticed several teachers went back to their classroom and expanded on it. Thanks for the thread!
     
  33. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I agree and it is already apparent in my 4 and 5 year old class of Preschoolers. What is wrong with parents???
     
  34. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Cut
    My dad god bless his conservative soul taught me how to say the pledge and how to sing the National Anthem, And sing God bless America.
    Dad was a WW II Vet and he would take me to the Barber shop where many many Vets would hang out on Saturdays (since my Bio Mother died in my birth) Dad took me everywhere, Barber shop, Baseball games, The the local Bar & grill, Even on Dates with my soon to be New Mom. When I walked in to the Barber shop the first time I could remember, about 4 or 5 years old, I saw the flag and having been taught by my dad to say the pledge I said it (with under god because this was 1955-6). Now maybe at that time I was parroting what my dad had taught me but I learned how to say it and what to do while it was being said. I remember one Vet (who always wore his American legion Hat) started crying he shook my hand and told the barber my Hair cut was on him (my dad told me about that part). I loved hearing the heros (that's what I called them) talk about saving their friends under fire They respected my young age and left the bloody parts out.
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Well, Dave -- first let me brush away the tears! My dad went to Germany in the Army (and wasn't a war hero). In fact, he wasn't even a very good dad. But he and my mom DID teach us (I have 3 siblings) the meaning of manners, respect, honor, and loyalty. My grandfather was a WWII vet, and all my life I can remember stories of how scared everyone was for him, and how blessed they felt when he returned. I was in elementary school during the Vietname fiasco, but I remember my granddad sitting on the back porch in tears because of the way people were treating those "boys who just did what they were told." I have done no actual research, but I have always heard that ours is the only country in which the taxation rate is considered (by non-nationals) to be low, while education, road work, etc. is free and available to all classes (that is a MAJOR distinction right there), and where you don't even have to pretend to believe in the things of which you are benefiting! I'm probably opening a hornet's nest here, but it has always seemed to me that the people raising the "individual rights" war cry generally don't have much respect for the institution that gave them those rights. Oh, well, there's my :2cents:, anyway!
     
  36. rogue0208

    rogue0208 Companion

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    Quoted for the extreme truth in that statement.
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What is wrong with me tonight? I am just now reading this entire thread, and I am on the verge of tears. Maybe I'm just tired, but I am so, so, so sad after reading this.

    I TEACH my students what it is to respect people, things, ideas, and this country. It must be taught. It must be!

    It is sad to read someone say we can "throw in the words Under God" if we want. It's not "throwing" them in...it is reciting the pledge for this country.

    And I know it is people's right to not do so, I do, but it makes me sad to imagine a classroom of children reciting the pledge with their little hands over their hearts while their teacher doesn't.

    I say the pledge like I mean it - because I do. My students say it like they mean it - because they are growing to realize they do. Because I have taught them what it means.

    There will be NO talking, looking away from the flag, fidgeting, etc. during the pledge. That is rude.

    I have taught students how to respond to the anthem at games. Take your hat off. Stand up straight. Someone has to teach these things.

    Schools not doing the pledge at all? What?

    It just makes me wonder what our schools will be like in twenty years. I will not retire until I am forty-nine, and I am only twenty-five now...it is a scary thought. Truly.

    Being told before going for teaching interviews...make sure you don't wear a cross necklace. What a shame.

    PC is getting old.
     
  38. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    JustMe - You said it! That's what I said above, but you said it a LOT nicer. :) I am really a calm, nice person - but things like this get me so riled up! We're the same age - I am right there with you. What will our schools be like? I am also beginning to wonder if we will end up teaching behind some sort of barricade. Isn't that the saddest thing? (Okay, a little dramatic, but you get my point.)

    Dave- Wouldn't it be awesome if everyone had a Dad like you? What wonderful memories he created with you!
     
  39. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    We teach our children patriotism simply because their dad works for the military. We didn't teach them the pledge or other songs but teaching patriotism is easy when you are surrounded by it. It's also not too shabby when we are going to vote (if you vote). But for the average joe, thinking about the pledge when it's not said outside of the four walls of school is rare.

    My Principal taught the under God part a little too strong for a state school but I don't necessarily expect to throw it out either. If I had an objection, I would visit that objection, but I don't give an option until it comes up.

    I loved that my teacher was absent yesterday morning because I had the opportunity to really teach and expand on the pledge without having to ask if I could. :)

    Last year I agreed with most everything my teacher did. This year between the two teachers I have, it's more of a struggle. Maybe that's because my husband is in Afghanistan and I'm just plain worn out. I'm tired. Oh, wait a minute. I already said that.
     
  40. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 12, 2007

    There have been a lot of responses directed at those who don't believe UG should be in the pledge, but in my admittedly quick perusal of the responses, I saw maybe one that questioned it. From my experience as a patriotic and respectful agnostic, I feel there is more hullabaloo about defending our right to say UG than there are people who actually choose not to say it.

    That said, I find myself in an uncomfortable situation each morning with the pledge. Most of my students, honors and remedial alike, don't really say it, but they do stand. I find that it's usually the religious or children of army officers who do. So if I don't say UG, then it's obvious that the only person saying the pledge audibly in the room (along with the loud speaker) has left something out. So usually I just mumble/fudge it so that the kids won't notice but I won't have to say something I disagree with.

    Last year I had an interesting experience. Coming from a school where we were told to have the moment of silence every morning in the announcements, I knew it was a state law, but my current school went for years without reminding us to have one or enforcing it. I am not one to disregard something that I know is actually a law, so I would tell my class at the beginning of the year that right when the announcements ended, we would have our state-mandated moment of silence. Morning classes are always sleepy, so I would rarely have to remind them as the year progressed. I would just wait a minute before getting up from my desk and starting class, and some kids probably forgot we were even having moments of silence, but to me that was more inducive to reflection and prayer than me saying, "And now be quiet and reflect!"

    Last year somebody must have complained, so they started saying, "Please remain standing for the moment of silence," at the end of the announcements. Standing isn't part of the law, and my understanding of the law is that it is to provide time for prayer and meditation. To me, a bunch of teenagers swaying and trying to keep their balance while they stare at their feet is less conducive to prayer and meditation than sitting, so I told them that they could sit if they wanted to. This somehow led to an opportunity for some to make a stand (no pun intended) in favor of standing, which I never anticipated. A few kids (the religious and army ones who said the pledge to begin with) chose to stand anyway, as though this had become the test of patriotism and religiosity.

    This wasn't my intention at all. Despite my personal beliefs, I had been enforcing the moment of silence for years at my school, when probably 9 out of 10 teachers didn't. I guess I was just expecting the kids (they were honors tenth graders) to be able to understand the difference between the law's intent, the law's actual wording, and the directive to stand that had been inserted into our announcements, and this was a bit too much to expect obviously.

    I had the opportunity to grow up in a town where I (raised a protestant) was in the religious minority. We were the only house with Christmas lights on the block, and we celebrated other religious holidays in school along with Christmas. To me this was an invaluable experience. No one was ever dismissive of my religion, and a little Jewish girl was the one to comfort me and tell me to still believe if I wanted when I found out about Santa Clause in third grade. I wish that everyone could have this type of experience. There is something about having been the minority but then finding that the majority was 100% tolerant and accepting of other viewpoints, that makes it impossible for me to be angry about the complaints of the majority today, even if I think they are lacking in true perspective. I don't get angry, but I do feel sad for those whose religions and viewpoints are dismissed in the name of patriotism.
     
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