Pledge to the Flag?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Major, May 3, 2006.

  1. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    May 3, 2006



    Hello Teachers,

    As some of you know I'm a substitute teacher. I retired after a very successful career as an executive in the corporate world.

    Today I taught as a sub in a middle school. The first class in the morning included such things as the Pledge to the Flag. As part of the early morning "annoucements" was a message that "the pledge to the flag" was not "required."

    It turns out that in my class 40% of the kids chose NOT to (stand or) say the pledge of allegence to the flag. As one who served in the armed forces (and a Patriot), this bothered me. So here is my question - Is this a "normal" early morning annoucement in your schools? Or am I'm just an old used up citizen who doesn't understand the new world?

    Thanks
    Major Hunt


     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I've never heard it be announced as part of the morning announcements, but I have seen many students who choose not to say the pledge. The fact that they don't has much less to do with pledging allegence to the flag and more to do with not agreeing with the "under God" phrase.
     
  4. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    In twenty years of teaching elementary school (I have taught fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade) I have never encountered a child who did not pledge the flag. We have no announcement other than "Please stand for the Pledge." The Pledge is led over the public address system, followed by the national anthem.
     
  5. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Our announcement is the same as Minervas. I ask all students to say it with us, and parents know this. If a parent has a problem with the "under God" phrase they can wright me a note and that child will be asked to stand with everyone still. Your school may have had someone complain about requiring students to say it. They may have to say it (the announcement) just to cover themselves. By the way... each of my students say the Pledge of Allegience, the Salute to the Arkansas Flag, and our School Pledge everyday. We do everything but the state flag salute over the intercom.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Our morning news program asks that students stand for the pledge and a patriotic song. I tell kids they can say/sing respectfully or stand quietly and respectfully. those are the only choices in my room.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've never had a student's family insist they not say the pledge. Should I ever get a student with those preferences, the kid will stand during the pledge! It's only respectful.
     
  8. Flanny108

    Flanny108 Rookie

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    I have had a few students who did not stand for the pledge because they were Jehovahs Witnesses. They would just sit quietly while the rest of the kids did the pledge.
     
  9. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I've had a few who were Jehovah's Witnesses too. I believe (I could be wrong!) that they don't stand because to them pledging to the flag is like worshipping a false idol.
     
  10. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Same here. I led the pledge every school day for about
    20 years and and had about 10 Jehovah Witness children
    sit it out. They also were given alternative activities during
    Christmas (usually in the library) when kids did art activities
    for the holiday. No big deal was ever made out of it and
    strengthened my belief that ours is a land of religous freedom.
     
  11. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    It's not usually part of the announcement to say that it's not required...but since the recent lawsuit here in FL, we were told that the students have the right NOT to stand or recite the pledge as long as they are not being "materially disruptive".

     
  12. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Schools are paid for by the American taxpayer, and as such, the symbols of our country, the flag, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance should be respected and the significance of them taught to ALL children in our public schools. I believe American students have a responsibility to learn about and to show respect to their country. Not standing during the National Anthem or the Pledge of ALlegiance shows a huge lack of respect to me.
    I think it is ok to give students the option of not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance because of the freedoms we have. But I think all students should be made to rise while the Pledge was recited out of respect for the country that is educating them.
     
  13. golden girl

    golden girl Guest

    May 4, 2006

    Okay, if they won't do the pledge, insist that they stand up and face the flag. You must insist! And this is the policy in my school.
     
  14. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Perfect answer Kinderkids
     
  15. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    It would be perfect, except then you are infringing on the religious rights of some, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, as mentioned above. Even standing for it, and not saying it, is soemthing that they are not allowed to do. They don't celebrate even simple thing such as birthdays, let alone say pledges to a flag. It is false worship, in their eyes. And in our country, with freedom of religion, they are free to believe it. Therefore, we cannot make them stand, even if we see it as only a sign of respect.
     
  16. Teacher379

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    I'm not sure if this is nation-wide, but since the lawsuit, we are basically forbidden to ask/insist that the students stand and/or recite the pledge.

     
  17. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I went to school with several Jehovah's Witnesses, the all stood for the pledge but didn't recite it.
     
  18. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    could they be asked to do a job during that time, perhaps , so that the other children who do say the pledge won't make a big deal of the situation.
     
  19. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    what is wrong with at least standing?
    Am I crazy...you live in this country, you are (or should be) a citizen of America, show some respect!
     
  20. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    My sentiments exactly LoVe2Teach
     
  21. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    :) Thanks!
     
  22. NELNaples

    NELNaples Rookie

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    To me saying the pledge always seems so bizarre to me. I was actually shocked that schools still did this. I thought it wasn't being said anymore in public schools.

    I feel like I am in an old movie where the public is under tyrant rule or something. It just seems weird to say it at the beginning of the day at school - I never went to my office and said it in the morning. I'd rather they sign the national anthem than say the pledge. I also like when the schools have their own oaths and the kids say that - pledge to be respectful and etc...

    It isn't that I am not patriotic, I just want to make that clear. It just seems like such an odd practice. Colleges don't do it either.
     
  23. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    you are correct; however, we are adults modelling respectful behavior for our students. Later on, these children will grow up and make their own decisions.
     
  24. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    We clap our hands and sometimes give standing ovations when we see a sporting event, music event, etc out of courtesy and respect to the performers. We shake hands when we greet someone to show courtesy and respect to our fellow man. Men take their hats off when the National Anthem is being sung out of courtesy and respect to our country. Soldiers salute each other out of courtesy and respect for their heroism and recognition to those in authority. When a man and woman get married in a church, the congregation stands out of courtesy and respect to the bride. When the queen of England or Prime Minister, or President, etc. enters a room, people stand (or bow) out of courtesy and respect to the position he or she holds. See a pattern here? Standing while the pledge is recited no more signifies that we are idolizing the flag then does shaking hands, clapping or saluting, rising for special honors and people; because it is done entirely out of COURTESY AND RESPECT, and not because we idolize them. Children need to learn to show respect, as it is part of a civilized society.
     
  25. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Well said, kinderkids.
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Absolutely Kinderkids!
     
  27. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Living in an area that rodeos all the time, most of our kids are very vocal about the flag, the pledge, and the anthem. There's something about watching one of your kids (students) zipping around the arena on a gorgeous horse with the flag fluttering behind!
     
  28. srh

    srh Devotee

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    We have a JW student in our AM Kinder class. With his mom's approval, he is asked to stand with us during the pledge, but obviously, he is not required to recite the pledge. A JW's standing during the pledge is not a violation of his/her beliefs, so we think at that point it boils down to respect, not allegiance. Also, it is less of a "big deal" to other students if he actually stands with the rest of the class. A worse problem with this student has been holiday celebrations. It can be difficult to see a student "left out" from our perspective, but it is a family's choice, and we have to honor their freedoms too.
     
  29. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    If a child would not stand during the pledge, I would have him/her leave the room. Every day my class says the pledge (and we don't start until every student is standing respectfully), sing the national anthem (they know all 3 verses), sing either the presidents or the state capitals. Sometimes they beg to sing both. They are so proud of themselves. We also talk about the vocab and the history (briefly) of the pledge and anthem. We quiz the state capitals daily after the song. They know that they must stand straight, not fiddle with anything, no hands in pockets while we say the pledge and sing the anthem, but they sit to do the other songs. It's a great way to start the day.
     
  30. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    It seems every day there is something new that people object too.... What is wrong with saying the pledge of allegiance? or singing the national anthem... we are Americans, we live in this country. It's a sign of respect plain and simple. Why is there always such controversy..
     
  31. srh

    srh Devotee

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    (Don't take this as a combative response!! :-D) I understand your enthusiasm, Upsadaisy, but while the pledge and anthem and recitation of state capitals, etc., is impressive and ambitious (I'm a patriot too!), it would be overkill, in my opinion, to cause any one student to miss so much time with the class. It can be tough to simply stand and observe, but at least they are not feeling banished from the group. The younger set of kids can't always differentiate between self-imposed restrictions (their religious values) and teacher-imposed actions. Keeping them in the classroom for the pledge, I think, validates their rights to abstain and others' rights to participate--a tolerance lesson in itself!

    Plus, where does the student actually go? We can't send a student outside the classroom without a destination; and it would be sending them to "isolation" even if they met with a "like group" during that time. Our pledge is recited over the PA system, sometimes very quickly with little notice--not conducive to a get-together somewhere else. I'm just saying that we do honor so many differing belief systems (Do any of your students wear headgear associated with Eastern Indian religions? Or any other number of "accepted practices?" Ours do...) that it seems harsh to single out students who cannot participate in patriotic activities.

    Do you have any such students in your classroom right now? I know they can get used to anything we throw at them, but I want to always keep the "whole student" in mind and not unncessarily accentuate the differences any more than necessary. It's a hard call!
     
  32. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    I ask my students to stand for the pledge, but I will not force anyone to say it. I, personally, say it, but leave out the "under God" part.
     
  33. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I expect all my students to stand for the pledge and put their right hand over their heart. I also have 2 JW students and they are expected to stand and face forward (not towards the flag). Sometimes I have to tell them not to say the pledge or put their hand over their heart LOL! I am Canadian and do not say the pledge. But I do stand, face the flag and model what to do for the first couple of weeks of school. I do explain to my class and let parents knowwhy I will not say the pledge.
     
  34. srh

    srh Devotee

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    That's pretty much what we do too. I like your comment about reminding the students NOT to pledge!! HAHA...that is one of the joys we have in teaching the youngest, isn't it?! And I've never considered what a teacher would do who did not want to (or could not) participate--thanks for the insight!
     
  35. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    srh, I said if a child would not stand (ie, refused), I would send him/her out of the room. He/she would stand in the doorway or right beside it. No, I don't have any such students and only did one year. No, we have no children with eastern religion headgear, though we have one Muslim family. (Ours is a very small school, founded on teaching the whole child.) We celebrate all religions that our children celebrate. This has nothing to do with religion, though, except for JWs. We don't presently have any JW families in our school.

    It only takes 5 minutes to pledge and sing. I consider it part of our American history lessons. I follow the above procedures with my class. We don't even have a PA system. Each teacher chooses his/her own morning routine. I feel that it enhances their sense of community to follow this routine, besides addressing our shared nationality and its symbols.
     
  36. srh

    srh Devotee

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    I stand corrected on missing that major detail ("if a child would not stand)! And you're right that this particular situation only involves JW students, but I know I would not want to have a student standing outside the group or classroom. I agree the history and nationality aspect is all good, and it would be wonderful if we didn't have to have exceptions to rules and procedures...but we do!
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    We're only talking about respect here, not coercion. Why would any child in an American school not expect to encounter expressions of American culture, patriotism, government? If I moved to another country I wouldn't expect the school to remove all references to their national government just because my child attended school there.
     
  38. srh

    srh Devotee

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    However, our country also believes in and supports religious freedom. And while I'm a Christian, and do honor the patriotism of our country, I would not want some facet of my Christianity to be booted out of the classroom. There are already many legal restrictions (mostly opposed to Christianity, I might add), but more wrongs would not make anything right. I would feel very uncomfortable having a government (federal, state, or local!) that mandated any political, religious, or patriotic observance. That is exactly what makes our country "different," or great in some people's eyes.

    I think that having students stand respectfully as the rest of us honor a patriotic symbol is enough. Do I agree with their statement of faith? No. But they have the freedom to practice their beliefs at this point and time. I have no idea what such a student would do in another country, but so many people come here so they can pursue their own dreams and freedoms because we have extended that opportunity as a nation. I'd rather be tolerant and accepting than exclusive. I know it's a touchy subject, but it always has been and probably always will be!
     
  39. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oh, I agree that standing in respect is plenty to expect.
     
  40. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I don't think they're expecting these things to be removed from the school. They're just expecting to have the right to refuse to participate when it goes against their religious beliefs.
     
  41. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    I have one student who is JW and as mentioned previously he does not pledge. He simply sits out and it only caused question with the kids the first week of school. No one even notices now.

    As an aside -- we just had a writing assignment -- What do you love about kindergarten? One of my kiddos wrote. I love Ms. ________. She teaches us the pledge of allegiance and she lets us play in centers!

    LOL -- never mind that he came in not able to write his own name and I got three full sentences -- at least I taught him the pledge :) Oh kids!
     

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