How should public school administrators react to students who sit through the pledge of allegiance in the US? This issue came up recently in a small town in western Minnesota, where kids were suspended and possibly humiliated because they failed to stand (in once case entirely by accident) for the pledge.

There is now an on line poll being run by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis asking your opinion on this issue. Here.

Hat Tip: Stephanie Z

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    May 10, 2008

    Shouldn’t you be off the map fishing somewhere? Lake still icy?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 10, 2008

    This is one of the few fishing openers I”m not up north, although for half of the prior openers the opener was not the reason I was up north. I don’t believe in automatically fishing on the opener. But it is fun to sit in the nice warm cabin with the fire going and watching the crazy people in cammo freezing on the lake in the sleet and hail.

    I do not know if the ice is of, but I suspect it is on our lake (but many northern lakes it is not this year!)

    For the most part, the walley are not biting yet in Cass County, and I don’t really fish for walleye anyway.

  3. #3 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    May 10, 2008

    I am kind of surprised, too, but it makes sense. Flocking to the lakes for the opener doesn’t really make sense from a fishing standpoint, and I don’t care for big crowds all that much (which is the major reason I have studiously avoided fame.)

    I’d rather fish later in the season. Fishing is more of a zen think for me anyway; aiming casts and hitting spots. Even when I was a kid, getting a hit on the line was more of a surprise and temporary intrusion and casting and retrieving than it was the goal of fishing. I hated trolling, it was too boring. I wanted Dad to leave me on the shore or at the dock while every one else went out on the boat.

    As to the poll, I have always wondered why anyone thinks that a compulsory pledge has any value. (You know, the whole bit about voluntary vs. compulsory loyalty.)

    I think the admins. at the school need to review the concept of common sense and the idea of liberty. Besides, what is pledging from kids worth when it comes to such abstract concepts as allegiance to a flag if not compulsory patriotism?

    (And even at that, I am not referring to the whole “Under God” phrasing.)

  4. #4 Jason
    May 10, 2008

    You pledge haters are all welcome to move to China, Iran, the Palestinian territories, etc. You can even burn a flag or two if you like. (Just be careful not to get run over by any bulldozers.)

  5. #5 Virgil Samms
    May 10, 2008

    You pledge haters are all welcome to move…

    Are you saying tha freedom of expression is not welcome here in “the land of the free”?

  6. #6 Stu
    May 10, 2008

    This isn’t exactly small town Minnesota. Yes, Dilworth is fairly small, but it’s part of the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, where I grew up. It’s not huge, but it’s a metro area of about 150,000 people, and growing quickly (Fargo is the largest town in North Dakota).

    With that said, they’re definitely acting like smalltown retards.

    Anyway, it’s stupid for people to say, “If you don’t like our freedom, move to one of these non-free countries.” You know, those types of countries were they have compulsory loyalty and no freedom of expression.

  7. #7 MadPanda
    May 10, 2008

    Okay, I gotta delurk, here.

    This was the subject of a Supreme Court case brought waaay back in 1943, which more or less said that one cannot mandate the Pledge of Allegience for schoolchildren (or anybody else, for that matter).

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citzens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
    –Justice Jackson, West Virginia v. Barnette (1943)

    The school district acted wrongly, and that’s pretty much all there is to that. They can wrap themselves in the flag if they wish, but coerced shows of patriotism cheapen the genuine article in much the same way that coerced prayer no doubt displeases the gods.

    Regrettably, this has been forgotten by too many people, as that poll made only too clear.

    The MadPanda (FCD)

    …relurking…

  8. #8 Shane
    May 10, 2008

    Come on this is ridiculous. The pledge does nothing to stop anti-American attitudes. Many say the pledge and go on to victimize Americans. We are a free country, and that itself is our greatest insurance in loyalty. Loyalty is not brainwashed into children by saying it often enough. Our loyalty should be fostered by trust and reason, not pledges. I have no loyalty to those that wish to shred the constitution. We the people are responsible to ensure it is not, blind loyalty only makes that less possible. The whole reason we are better than other countries, is that we have the choice. The kind enforced loyalty that Stalin fostered is neither required, nor is it respected.

  9. #9 Ed Darrell
    May 10, 2008

    I’d be willing to excuse them if they had either a religious or political reason.

    But if they’re just too damned lazy to stand up and they think it somehow gores their teachers, I say let ‘em stew. We don’t have time for non-thinking non-actors in schools and civics.

    Bet I’m the outlier on that one.

    I remember a bunch who refused to stand at an Orioles game — 30 years ago? — unfortanately a row or two in back of a group of biker Vietnam vets. Oddly, no one saw much of anything. If they refused to stand again, it was far away from Vietnam vets.

    Protest is one thing. Manners is another. Refusal to stand might easily be considered fighting words among a group of veterans. Kids shouldn’t get beaten up for being too lazy to think through their being too lazy to stand up.

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    May 10, 2008

    Ed, I don’t think the kids are asking you to excuse them, and our rights, thankfully for almost everyone, don’t depend on the use we put them to. I was well aware of that even in eighth grade. I’m a little confused, too. These manners you refer to–was that the assault itself or the ignoring it as it was going on next to you?

    Greg, I was laughing at the image of all the camo on the lake when I realized that was exactly what Ben was wearing while smelting last weekend.

  11. #11 djmoore
    May 10, 2008

    Shane gets it.

    The Left is often assumed to have a monopoly on Political Correctness, but in fact the Right has its own very poisonous franchise, of which this is one of the fouler products.

    The Pledge, or any loyalty oath, is meaningless if it is not given voluntarily.

    That aside:

    1. Most elementary school kids I’ve asked don’t even know what the words mean. “Pledge”? “Allegiance”? “Republic”? “Indivisible”? They should know, of course, by about fourth grade. But they don’t, and oughtn’t be reciting empty gibberish.

    2. It’s a scandal that not only do the kids not know what the words mean in grade school, but that they graduate from high school without knowing even the rudiments of how their government works; or what rights are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, yes ya darn betcha including the Second; or the history of our nation, the good as well as the bad. In short, it is wrong that they are not taught why it is a right and honorable thing to take the Pledge, so that they will want to do so of their own free will, and mean it when they do.

    3. Pledge to the Flag? Piss off; I’ll not swear to any rag. Liberty and justice for all? Come back with a warrant. Under God? Prove it. If I take any pledge or oath, it will be to uphold and defend the Constitution, flawed and imperfect though it may be. That I’d do gladly, any time, any place, and I wish there was an appropriate venue for ordinary citizens to do so in a meaningful way. (I failed my physical when I tried to enlist, and now I’m too old and fat anyway. And I’d make a lousy elected official. And, no, I won’t swear to uphold the law, because there’s too damn much of it, and most of it doesn’t make any sense.)

    I love the Republic for which the Flag stands, and I give it my allegiance wholeheartedly. I’d die to defend it. I have wept with pride while singing the terrifying question the Anthem asks; I cannot even think the words without my throat tightening. But the Pledge is empty socialist claptrap, and requiring kids to blindly recite it is antithetical to everything that would make it worth saying.

  12. #12 DJMoore
    May 10, 2008

    Oh, the “terrifying question”? It’s not about that star-spangled banner; it’s about the land. Long after we have ceased to be brave or free, elected tyrants will see to it that the flag still waves, and that their subjects recite pledges and oaths and anthems, to it and to them, ad nauseum. See North Korea.

  13. #13 John C. Randolph
    May 10, 2008

    Punishing any citizen, let alone a child, for declining to participate in mouthing a loyalty oath is an absolute disgrace to everything America stands for. We overthrew our king, we defeated imperial Japan, we destroyed the “thousand year Reich”, and held off the obscenity of communism during the cold war for FREEDOM, not for a country where petty bureaucrats get to impose conformity on our children.

    This repugnant little tyrant posing as an educator should not only be dismissed from the taxpayers’ employ, he should be prosecuted for civil rights violations.

    -jcr

  14. #14 John C. Randolph
    May 11, 2008

    Jason,

    You have a brilliant future ahead of you as a dutiful apparatchik. Have you considered applying to the Cuban or North Korean embassies for a visa?

    Clearly, you have no business at all living as a free man in a free country.

    -jcr

  15. #15 John C. Randolph
    May 11, 2008

    I have wept with pride while singing the terrifying question the Anthem asks

    I wonder how many people ever realize that the question is “is the land still free?”, rather than, “is that fabric symbol of freedom still there”?

    -jcr

  16. #16 themadlolscientist
    May 11, 2008

    Let’s see if I remember correctly:

    “I led the pigeons to the flag of the New Ninety Steaks of America, and to the public for Richard stands, one nation underdog, invisible, with liver tea and jefftist for all.”

    Or something like that.