Do you teach your students the right to refuse the Pledge of Allegiance?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by TheGr8Catsby, Jul 6, 2014.

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  1. TheGr8Catsby

    TheGr8Catsby Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2014

    If so, how?


    Hello, everyone. I know I'm not very active on these forums, but I posted this on another teacher forum that I visit more. I know that there's a different crew here (and two that I've seen who are on both :D), so I wanted to get some more insight.


    There seemed to be some confusion on the other forum. Some states and districts have mandates that students have the opportunity to recite the pledge daily.

    However, according to the Supreme Court in the case West Virginia v. Barnette, students cannot be required to
    -recite the pledge
    -stand for the pledge
    -leave the room during the recitation of the pledge.

    However, it can be required for student to remain silent during the recitation.
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    The only students I've come across who don't say the pledge refrain for religious reasons. That's fine, and they are taught at home that they just stand respectfully and silently. It's never really been an issue or something I've had to address much. I've been teaching 6 and 7 year olds, so I definitely don't "teach" them that they have the right to refuse the pledge. That is something that needs to come from home at the elementary level, I think.
     
  4. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I don't bring it up, but I've had a number of students who don't want to stay the pledge. Because of the positions I've held, I've led the pledge in many different classrooms in different cities and schools. While some kids are serious about it, sometimes they [mistakenly] seem to think it's just a way to get a rise out of someone that isn't their regular teacher. I let them know that's their right, but they must remain quiet and respectful to those who choose to say the pledge. I've never had anyone act out after that.

    Frankly, I think having young children pledge to a flag every day is a bit strange. I would never try to force it. If it were up to me, we'd just skip it. I don't think they're old enough to understand what it means and it would make more sense to decide to do it when they're older if they choose. I keep my views to myself at school, though.
     
  5. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    It never occurred to me to teach the students they have the right to refuse the Pledge of Allegiance. I'm fairly certain that I'd get in trouble for that even if it against the law to force someone to say the pledge. I can see myself getting called to the P's office or having one of her admins having a "talk" with me if I did that.

    At my old school, we didn't have morning announcements, so I rarely even led the class in the pledge. At my current school they do announcements and tell everyone to "please stand for the pledge", so I do it. If I didn't and the admin found out they'd make a big deal out of it. They make a big deal out of EVERYTHING.
     
  6. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I cover it first day of school. I tell them that I can't make them stand for for the Pledge, nor can I make them say the Pledge, but I can require them to be silent if they choose not to participate.

    It's always interesting to me to see who participates and who doesn't. Some I know don't participate for religious reasons. Some stand but don't say it. Some go back and forth.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Short answer... no I don't. When and if I run into a situation where a student chooses not to participate in the pledge, I'll just ask them to stay silent.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb:This.
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I'm in HS, and I feel like 90% of the "refusal" is just laziness, tbh. But that's on them. I just say "silent and respectful", and if they stand, they stand.
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't feel it's my place to teach a child that. If their family chooses to abstain for religious reasons or whatever, then it is the job of the family in the home to teach the child this.
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've had students who for religious reasons don't say the pledge. They were taught at home to stand silently.

    I think it shows disrespect to not stand. If I'm at a game, think professional baseball or hockey, and they play Canada's national anthem, then ours you stand for both, not just one.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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  13. John Lee

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    I think teaching it is somewhat of a disservice to the kid(s). It is giving undue attentio--like when a kid (who wants attention) harmlessly falls down, you don't run over and baby the kid, because that will make them ball their eyes out.

    It is fine to teach them about political/religious difference, but at this age--there is no point in making an issue of it.
     
  14. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 7, 2014

    Ditto.
    Except I do make parents aware that their child is not participating. Every time, maybe 5, the parents wanted their child to partake.
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I think "teaching" them it wouldn't be necessary, but they should be made aware of their right to refuse somehow. I think casually mentioning it would be fine, or put it in some set of procedures that they may (or may not) read, or something.

    Personally, I support what the US is intended to represent and do stand for the pledge.

    I would hedge away from trying to judge anyone's reasoning for not standing or saying the pledge. They may claim it's laziness even if they have some deeper underlying reason.
     
  16. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I don't really like this. Not that you tell the parents (you should), but rather the expectation that it should be the parent's decision.
     
  17. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I think it's okay for a parent to make those decisions for a 7 year old. I'm sure those kids who weren't participating weren't doing it for any moral, religious or other legitimate reasons.
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Why are you sure of that, and why does a reason have to pass your filter for "legitimacy"?
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    7 year olds very rarely make deep philosophical decisions based on legitimate reasons without adult intervention. There's nothing wrong with mentioning to a parent that their child is choosing not to say the pledge, and there's nothing wrong with parents having a serious talk about something like the pledge. There's also the simple fact that many parents would be mortified to find out their child wasn't saying the pledge because of a "childish" reason.
     
  20. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I live in a very conservative community where people I know are convinced the pledge has been abolished from classrooms and God is under some kind of attack.
    They couldn't be further from the truth. Every school I've worked in has done the pledge in the morning. Either over the intercom or just in classrooms.
    I feel like the right to refuse should come from home. It's not something that the schools have a business in suggesting because you'll have kids refusing just for the sake of getting noticed.
    I used to work with a teacher who felt like it was mind control and some kind of indoctrination. In my mind, there's nothing wrong with it. It's a lovely poem and a lovely ritual to start the day. Some schools also recite a school pledge afterward. I see the purpose as more of a process to starting the day and something the kids can count on for classroom consistency.
    I feel like the whole thing is a ridiculous fight on both sides. Religion...patriotism...all of that seem to be part of a strange culture war these days and more about having control than really teaching anything.
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    At the high school level, I would say about 20% say the Pledge on any given day, but they all stand for it. It's never an issue or a problem. I also teach in a highly conservative area, so they've all been taught to at least stand and stay silent. There's no need for me to address it.
     
  22. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Same here. If a parent requests, then I'll oblige. Until then, no.
     
  23. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    LOL. It's not in the curriculum, so no.
     
  24. Lysander

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    I teach second grade. In our school, we say the Pledge with school-wide morning announcements. I have had a few students in the past who have refused for religious reasons, and that has been fine with me. They have either sat or stood silently while the class recites. Whether they participate or not should be left to the parents to discuss with them. Toward the end of the year, during my Memorial Day lesson, I teach the students about the meaning of each section of the Pledge. Students who refuse to say the Pledge are excused from this lesson without consequences, as well as the unit on American symbols.
     
  25. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    We do the pledge and sing some patriotic songs. Parents know about the activities. No one has opted out yet.
    I consider the activities related to life skills. Some of my students have disabilities that impact their participation but they still need to be appropriate. We sing the National Anthem for that reason. We've spent time on the history of the pledge and the song.
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm not sure I agree with that. I think it's still important for those kiddos to know what exactly the pledge is saying, if only so that them and their parents can talk about exactly why they find it religiously objectionable.
     
  27. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    Exempting students from these lessons is a school-system policy. Ultimately, it is up to the parents whether their child stays in my class or is excused, but I must notify parents in advance and get their decision before I can begin the unit.
     
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    No. If a student wants to not say the pledge for religious or other reasons, they or a parent lets me know. (This is the way I have handled it at a public school and at a private school.) Then if they let me know, I honor the request. Since my students are rather young (5th grade), I won't exempt the child without talking to the parents first.
     
  29. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Why would you not teach American Symbols?
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't understand this either.
     
  31. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    Some religions, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, believe that the Pledge and other American symbols is idol worship. In my thirteen year career, this has only been an issue with three students. These students also do not participate in birthdays or class celebrations.
     
  32. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I agree with the others that this is a bit of an odd policy and not required by the law. Kids can still believe that saying the pledge is idol worship even though they learn what the pledge means.

    Of course, you should still follow that procedure since it's system policy (and the policy isn't illegal, just odd).
     
  33. SF_Giants66

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    Wow, I was actually just reading this thread with the intention of getting additional perspectives and not responding until I read someone at the beginning saying that they tell their parents on them for not saying the pledge. "You don't have to say the pledge, but I'm gonna tell your parents so they'll force you." How nice of a teacher that person is. FML!
     
  34. TeacherGroupie

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    The age/maturity of the student and the standards of the community surely come into play here.

    If a first grader isn't saying the pledge, it could make sense to check in with the parents in case there are other issues - classroom celebrations and the like - that haven't surfaced yet but need to be addressed properly. Middle-school students, in contrast, might be slightly better situated to advocate for themselves as regards the additional issues, and a classroom ought to be a safe place for a student to begin to individuate politically.

    The thing is, though, that the symbols and rituals of patriotism can be amazingly hot buttons in some communities or at some times. I've witnessed this with a much less hot button: student government. A high-school principal was practically tarred and feathered (and certainly not invited back for a second year) after the student-body president - who, to be sure, had a bit of a reputation - got the students to vote to experiment with collapsing the student senate and legislature into one body and calling it something other than "senate", "legislature", or "congress". It sounds like nothing in retrospect, and it mostly was... until two or three parents got wind of the matter and started demanding that the principal overrule the election results and remove the kid from office. When the P declined to do either, they launched a campaign against him that eventually made nationwide news. I don't know whether he left voluntarily or whether the school board pushed him out, but either way it was not at all pretty to watch.

    In any case, principles are still principles when they're not being flaunted in the faces of those who believe otherwise. Teaching kids in public school not to salute the flag in the absence of either curricular cause or a student raising the question strikes me as flaunting.
     
  35. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    How many of you knew as children that you didn't have to say the pledge if you didn't want to? Isn't it okay just to say that if students don't want to say the pledge, they can just sit or stand quietly? Why are people so insistent on keeping kids blind from the facts? So what if the kids know the pledge is optional and that historically changes were made? If they appreciate the pledge and are proud to say it, why should it matter? Wouldn't parents rather their kids say the pledge because they want to and not because they have to? Why do parents want their kids to be withheld the information of the 1943 Supreme Court ruling? Do parents want their kids to be ignorant and kept from learning history just because it doesn't help make their point? I'm seriously asking. I'm not being a jerk.
     
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    To make a long story short... there are some fights I don't consider worth fighting. Could I engage my third graders in a discussion about the pledge, inform them of their rights, etc? Sure. Would it be worth the mountain of backlash, or even worth just the loss of class-time needed to have such a discussion? Nope. Nope, nope, nope.
     
  37. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Also, I knew about my rights as a kid. I also knew about my dad's 20 years of military service, my (paternal) grandfather's service in WWII, my (maternal) grandfather's service in Korea, and three great-grandfathers' service in WWI. So...
     
  38. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    See, that doesn't answer the question. Say it wasn't a teacher, but the kids knew the facts from reading a website, or another student repeated what their parents told them. Are parents upset at their kids being told facts from their teachers that they didn't want them to have to hear, or are they upset just because their kids know facts that they don't want them to know?
     
  39. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Wow. :beatdeadhorse:

    Would you also consider it your responsibility to save the poor children from the abuse of being lied to about Santa?
     
  40. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    This is seriously getting ridiculous. You have some gall to keep bringing this debate back up when it's been shut down by moderators numerous times. All you're doing is arguing in circles and not getting answers you like, wasting people's time.
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Long story short... stirring the pot. I could go into my class on Monday and tell my kids a lot of perfectly true things that would also get me into a lot of hot water. Third graders aren't really old enough to understand the pledge, and probably shouldn't be "made" to say it, but they also aren't old enough to understand the social implications of refusing to say it.
     
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