High Schooler Gets in Trouble After Not Standing for the Pledge of Allegiance

Inspired by 10-year-old Will Phillips‘ refusal to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, a slightly-older commenter said this:

I am a High School student in Alaska. For years, I have stood up, but not recited the pledge. My reasons being some quite similar to Will Phillips’. When asked why I don’t recite the pledge, I tell them. I’ve always stood during the pledge, just because that’s what I was raised to do. Never once did I consider sitting down for the pledge, and never once did I consider the fact that people who couldn’t see my mouth still saw me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

However, that will be the last time. This kid has inspired me to join the group and be the first that I’ve seen at my High School (and even in all of my years of schooling) to refuse to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ve researched, and have cited a few Alaska State Statutes in a notebook, to reference to in case that I am confronted by a teacher.

Wow. I think my eyes popped out a bit when I first read that.

I was curious to learn more, so I sent an email to the commenter to find out if he actually followed through with this.

It turns out Daniel Royston of Wasilla, Alaska (yep — that Wasilla) did what he said he would do: He didn’t stand up for the Pledge.

The pushback from the administration at his school was swift and harsh.

Daniel wrote me the following email. It’s lengthy but I urge you to read it. It’s a prime example of a principal not knowing the law and a student who does. Daniel’s not the first atheist who has to deal with this problem and he (sadly) won’t be the last. Daniel’s own emphasis is in bold. I’ve emphasized one bit myself with a yellow highlighter:

Thursday was the first day that I decided not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. That first day, no one noticed. I figured that was okay; as long as no one said anything, I wouldn’t have any trouble with my decision. On the second day, however, the teacher for that class told me after the Pledge that I had to at least stand. When I went to talk to her about it (respectfully), before I had a chance to say anything, she told me to go down and talk to my principal, because that’s what he told her to tell students.

Alaska Statute 14.03.130 states the following:

(a) United States and Alaska flags shall be displayed upon or near each principal school building during school hours and at other times the governing body considers proper. The governing body shall require that the pledge of allegiance be recited regularly, as determined by the governing body. A person may recite the following salute to the flag of the United States or maintain a respectful silence: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

(b) A school district shall inform all affected persons at the school of their right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance. The exercise of the right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance may not be used to evaluate a student or employee or for any other purpose.

Now clearly, that’s not what had been going on. Students were being told that they had to participate by “at least standing.” I took my teacher up on her request and talked to my principal in his office. When I started to explain what had happened, he cut me off. He started to lecture me about my decision. He said that we didn’t need to talk about what “our right is,” but rather “what is right.” He said that standing for the Pledge showed respect to this country and the people that have died for our freedom. I told the principal that I was expressing my “freedom” by choosing not to stand. I told him that I did not want to be associated with the Pledge of Allegiance and standing was associating myself with it.

The principal then asked if I had talked to my parents about it. I told him that, yes, I had informed my mom (the parent I live with) that I had made this decision. He then called my mom, and put her on speakerphone. Before the call, I asked him to make sure to tell my mom that I’m not in trouble, and that I came to his office voluntarily. He did no such thing. The principal started talking to my mom like I was called down to his office, and that I was in trouble. He didn’t say those things, but the school district has a code they follow when calling parents because of disciplinary problems, and he was following it word-by-word.

During the conversation, my mom stated that it was her opinion that I should stand for the Pledge. The principal used that to say that, because my mother told me to (which she did not), I have to stand. I told him that this violated my beliefs, both political and religious, and he just cut me off to say that my mom told me to, so I have to.

One of the most shocking parts of the conversation was when he started talking about me. Specifically and personally, me. He said that he’s seen a lot of kids with a lot of talent, and that I was one of them. He said that he really didn’t want to see me go down a path where I use my skills for unproductive reasons, and that he wanted to see me make it through high school. I asked if my beliefs would restrict me from graduating. He then said, “Well, I don’t know. It’s possible.” I told him that I had formed my beliefs, and that I found standing for the Pledge of Allegiance to be offensive. He asked if my beliefs really found standing for the Pledge offensive. When I replied “yes,” he, without pause, said, “I don’t buy that.” He just said that he didn’t think I really had those beliefs. I kid you not, that’s what he said.

He went on, trying to persuade me that having the beliefs I have could bring me down at this school, that having these beliefs were wrong. When he said, “I really want to see you use the skills and intelligence that you have for good.” I said “And I am,” to which he replied, “Don’t argue with me.”

He concluded the meeting stating that because my mom told me to stand (again, she didn’t), I had to stand. When I asked “So, if I have my mom sign a note saying that I’m authorized to exercise my freedom of speech and of religion, then I can exercise my right to not participate?” He then said “We follow board policy” and sent me out of his office.

Now, I understand that my parents do have the right to make me stand, because I am, by law, a minor. However, I don’t think that that is the decision my parents will make. Although they don’t agree with my beliefs most of the time, they at least respect my views to a degree. The principal, however, did not respect my views even the slightest bit. I will be talked to and lectured by both parties, but my views stay, and I will not back down.

Can you give me any advice to deal with the school district on this incident? If my parents sign that childish note saying that yes, I can exercise my rights, I am more than willing to elevate this. I don’t know how far I’ll have to go to simply be able to express my right to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, the biggest, most blatant violation of the Separation of church and state in America today.

A few thoughts:

  • That any principal could say what this one did is appalling. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he’s trying to scare Daniel into thinking he does. If he makes Daniel serve a detention, or any punishment, for not standing for the Pledge, this will come back to bite him in the ass. I encourage Daniel to keep doing what he’s doing and take the licks for now. It’ll just make for a stronger case.
  • I have passed Daniel’s letter along to a few friends who can help with this issue. Normally, these things are taken care of with a strongly worded letter and no lawsuit has to be filed. I would hope the principal just takes care of this matter by apologizing for what he’s said and done, and then sending faculty members an email stating (as a reminder) that students do not have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Daniel provided me with contact information for his teacher, the principal, and the school. I’m not posting them here right now. But that information is available in case it’s needed.
  • I told Daniel to talk to his mother and get this straightened out with her. It’s important that she understand what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Even if she doesn’t agree with his decision, nothing that transpires should come as a surprise to her.
  • I’m amazed by the courage a student like Daniel has. Not standing for the Pledge, when everyone else around you is doing it, is an incredibly hard thing to do at that age. But he’s teaching other students a lesson in not straying from your convictions. I’m impressed.

If you have any words of advice or encouragement for Daniel, please leave them in the comments.

I’ll keep you all updated as to what happens with all this.

***Update***: Daniel spoke to his parents and they have told him they don’t want him to sit during the Pledge. He tells me he is going to respect their wishes — and I understand that decision.

But there are still many students out there who can take the stand that Daniel may be unable to. Let his story serve as inspiration.

  • jemand

    I don’t think the pledge should even be said every day. Too similar to paramilitary type brainwashing into militant patriotism. Have a convocation every couple months with a bunch of stuff, and say the pledge then. Every day is excessive and unnecessary.

  • TXatheist

    I wish I was as brave as you Daniel.

  • Ron in Houston

    Daniel is a brave and thoughtful guy.

    I’d be proud to have a son like Daniel.

  • Sesoron

    Aw, disappointing update. The fact that there are principals doing that sort of thing, let alone teachers and parents, is really frightening, and I just wish the principal could be made to see that he’s out of line. I would have sent one of I’m sure many eloquent and well thought-out emails to him if you’d posted his contact info, but I understand the decision not to, Hemant.

    In a way, it’s kind of unfortunate that we had so few chances to say the pledge during high school, because I was far more confident and opinionated in my atheism than in previous years when it was at least a weekly thing. I do remember once during an assembly when I sat through the pledge, but I only had a student call me out on it and try to get me to stand; no administrative backlash afterwards.

    From one atheist Dan to another, I’m sorry your folks came down on the side of the man. Hang in there.

  • Flah

    I suspect his parents are just trying to save him a lot of hassle and agony over this, but I hope they told him how proud they are of him for taking such a principled stand.

    Daniel, chalk this one up as early training. You will run across many many more ignorant asses in positions of authority in your life. Some you will be able to influence and reason with, some not.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    I’m not from the USA, but when I read such stories, I wave to wonder if such forced recitation / standing is utterly fascist. I can so imagine this happening in Nazi Germany, North Korea, etc. etc. But surely not in freedom loving USA?

    Sounds like throughout the country you all of school-age need to have a mass sit-down protest.

    In England, there was compulsory prayers / hymns in assembly. I wouldn’t bow my head for payers, certainly wouldn’t say them, and made up very silly lyrics for hymns. I wanted that confrontation with the headmaster, but they never rose to the accession.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    I’m not from the USA, but when I read such stories, I wave to wonder if such forced recitation / standing is utterly fascist. I can so imagine this happening in Nazi Germany, North Korea, etc. etc. But surely not in freedom loving USA?

    Sounds like throughout the country you all of school-age need to have a mass sit-down protest.

    In England, there was compulsory prayers / hymns in assembly. I wouldn’t bow my head for payers, certainly wouldn’t say them, and made up very silly lyrics for hymns. I wanted that confrontation with the headmaster, but they never rose to the accession.

  • Ape Toast

    Daniel, I’m saddened by the way a rare courageous act of social activism was handled by the “grown ups”. Oddly, I am also impressed with your ability, as a teen, to put your feelings aside and honor your parents wishes. You send a strong message that your beliefs are not simply a result of teenage rebellion. BZ!

  • TXatheist

    Prime, funny you bring that up. An earlier position to the Pledge was the salute. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xipJGXUWjTU

  • Ned

    Do good and others will follow.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    Sadness. Daniel, I am glad you took this stand against authority for what you believe in. I’m sad that you are choosing to step down. It’s good that you respect your parents’ wishes, but at the same time, it makes me wonder if they just want to avoid the trouble of challenging authority. My experience has shown me that you can fight this sort of bullshit, and even win.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    Good job, Daniel!

    I do understand why you’ve decided to take what your parents want into consideration.

    It sure seems like your generation has a large population of vocal non-believers. And soon you will all be adults, and then parental pressures won’t hinder these types of choices. I truly cannot wait to see your generation start to have influence on this country as adults. So the fact that you protested at all, even though it was only once, gives me great hope for the future.

  • H

    Know what he’s really being punished for?

    Being an individual and having a nonconformist opinion and not blindly obeying authority.

    That’s what school really trains people to do after all.

    Now Daniel just needs to be even braver and stand up to his mother as well, regardless of her reasons (either she’s as ignorant and assholish as the principal, or she just wants to avoid trouble, which is another problem with our society – conformity through fear of rejection).

    He definitely deserves the respect of every other free-thinking individual in the world – and there aren’t many unfortunately.

  • lneely

    @Prime: i’m not entirely sure, then, that you know what fascism means. this isn’t the government forcing anyone to recite pledge (in fact, as indicated, alaska state law says quite the opposite) but rather it’s the school administration abusing its privilege.

    the principal should have had his ass fired on the spot.

  • Christophe Thill

    Sad world we’re living in. Being an intelligent and independant-minded kid will get you beat up by bullies and harassed by authorities. Only sheep have an easy life. It just disgusts me sometimes.

    As for the “pledge of allegiance”, it’s an absurdity. Only civil servants should be required to swear fidelity to the constitution. Certainly not schoolkids!

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    Sometimes, okay a majourity of the time, the education system has a proud history of letting people down and being full of crap.

  • Eric

    I can’t believe that I am actually going to say this, but… what’s wrong with standing? How is that offensive?

    Please don’t get me wrong- I am a fellow atheist, but honestly, standing for the pledge does not seem like it is an incredibly ignorant thing to do, or to compromise with your ethics, integrity, etc., etc. Obviously if you refuse to stand, it immediately singles you out as different, whether you desire that or not I guess is up to you.

    Why is it that every publicly-declared atheist seems to make it their mission to point out to everyone how dumb they are, and as far as themselves, being far superior, would never do something as “pagan” as worshiping a flag?

    Come on, people. It’s a little patriotic, yes, and if you are against that, then you have the freedom to leave our democratically-free country. I am a US Navy veteran, and I personally believe that standing for the pledge of allegiance is a simple sign of respect, and does not infringe on my right of religion or my right to refuse religion. You don’t have to utter “God” if you don’t want to. This is just showing class.

  • JD

    I’m not surprised, but I guess this proves that the shrill right is hypocritical about their standards of educational indoctrination. It’s OK if it promotes their religion and their seemingly unwavering belief that their religion and their country can do no wrong, but they’re pretty happy to lob accusations of indoctrination at the current administration.

  • http://alessamendes.blogspot.com Alessa Mendes

    In life, there are many moments such as this. The fact that he is so brave and mature about it shows that he obviously has the skills and backbone to deal with the world’s many issues.

    In history, those who achieved great things usually did so by travelling the road less travelled, with a considerable amount of resistance.

    In the end, he should be nothing but proud of himself. This truly moved me

  • http://alessamendes.blogspot.com Alessa Mendes

    In life, there are many moments such as this. The fact that he is so brave and mature about it shows that he obviously has the skills and backbone to deal with the world’s many issues.

    In history, those who achieved great things usually did so by travelling the road less travelled, with a considerable amount of resistance.

    In the end, he should be nothing but proud of himself. This truly moved me

  • http://alessamendes.blogspot.com Alessa Mendes

    In life, there are many moments such as this. The fact that he is so brave and mature about it shows that he obviously has the skills and backbone to deal with the world’s many issues.

    In history, those who achieved great things usually did so by walking the road less travelled, with a considerable amount of resistance.

    In the end, he should be nothing but proud of himself. This truly moved me

  • Melissa

    It’s posts like these that make me feel grateful for attending the school district I did. At my high school it was made very apparent that no one had to stand or say the pledge if they didn’t want to, be it religious views or any other objection. I remember in my freshman year reading an entire article about it in the school’s newspaper and I felt very proud. Some teachers still wanted you to stand, and would encourage you to participate, but if you told them no, they never batted an eye against you. The only times I ever stood for the pledge was out of respect for my teachers, usually during instances where my classmates were being completely obnoxious and unruly to the point where the classroom was so loud it was impossible to even hear the loud speaker. It was times like those I would give in and stand, just to help my teacher regain control and show everyone else it was pledge time so be quiet! (though, just for the record, I never, ever, recited the pledge, just stood in silence on rare occasions.)

  • Quentin

    Daniel, keep up the good work! Keep reminding them over and over that you have the law on your side. Even the principal knows that he is bound by law, and it’s spelled out right there in plain English. You need to document his threat to withhold your graduation, it’s too easy for him to deny he ever said it. Get it in writing, get it on tape, get some witnesses to substantiate it.

  • RPJ

    There’s no “passive resistance” when there’s no “resistance”. The absolute worst thing one can do in that situation is be submissive.

    Don’t yourself to be browbeaten. Don’t allow your opponent to frame an argument in any way they please. Don’t allow them to arbitrarily reject your statements and overemphasize their own.

    When I replied “yes,” he, without pause, said, “I don’t buy that.” He just said that he didn’t think I really had those beliefs. I kid you not, that’s what he said.

    He has no position to decide for you what you believe. If your opponent tries anything of that sort with you, you need to make clear that it is invalid: their authority over you does not extend that far. Do not hesitate to say “You are wrong, and you have no position to tell me what my own beliefs are.”

    Do not allow yourself to be enclosed by the opponent’s influence. You are an individual. You are not arguing against your opponent’s viewpoint; your are defending your own – do not allow them to crush yours and substitute their own. Authority is not the final word.

    I can so imagine this happening in Nazi Germany, North Korea, etc. etc. But surely not in freedom loving USA?

    If you don’t love freedom the right way (read: republicanisms), then you are an unpatriotic, freedom-hating terrorist.

  • Chris

    ACLU of Alaska Website:
    http://www.akclu.org/

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    The principle needs to be excused from his job, immediately.

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    Daniel, you can respect your parents’ wishes and still show your resistance. Stand up and turn your back. Keep your silence, as you have been. They asked you to stand, they said nothing about how you have to orient yourself.

  • http://seangill-insidemyhead.blogspot.com/ SeanG

    Daniel is growing up in Wasilla Alaska. Talk about being behind enemy lines. I think he’s doing great and maybe it’s a matter of picking your battles.

    It seems I was fortunate growing up. I can only recall doing the pledge every Monday morning, and only up to 6th grade. Coercing kids to do it every day seems rather Orwellian.

  • http://la-fields.livejournal.com/ L.A. Fields

    The exact same thing happened to me in high school, in Florida. We could stay quiet, but we were forced to stand (except for one year where I had a Belgian French teacher for homeroom; she had a “don’t care, don’t tell” policy, and she had my allegiance for a while). After one day of not standing up in History class homeroom however, I was told if I didn’t stand the next day, I’d answer to the front office (and they already knew me down there for wearing a sign on National Coming Out day–I was forced to take it off because it was “distracting”). I went home, and my mom said she wouldn’t back me in an argument with school officials because she didn’t want the drama. I stood resentfully for the next three years. I’m still pretty offended by how that all went down.

    If you want my allegiance, give me choices. My History teacher tried to guilt me with the dead soldiers argument, and that gets really personal when you dismiss it (“My grandfather died in the war! Why do you hate my grandfather?”), but I was a mouthy kid, and stood up to it as far as I reasonably could. I even came up with my own smart-ass pledge (to the Blind Allegiance State) to recite in protest.

    That being said, every day I was forced to stand, I reserved my allegiance from a country that didn’t respect (1) someone under 18′s rights, (2) individuality, (3) symbolic and peaceful protest. Allegiance is earned; it’s a bad call to try and force it.

  • Colin

    Outrageous behavior on the part of the principal. Just for taking it as far as you did, I respect your decision. Think of it as one step in your learning experience.

    Besides, give it a few years, and you’ll have bigger fish to fry than a small town principal.

  • http://vegkat.blogspot.com Kat

    I wish I had had the guts to do something like this in high school. I stood and said it for years. Then in 10th grade, I started saying it, omiting the “under god”. Then I just stopped saying it, but I stood. Hopefully, Daniel, more students will take the “stand” (so to speak) you did, and kids across the country can start to change minds and attitudes. Bravo, Daniel! I have two toddlers, and hope to raise them with a sense of activism, and would never “suggest” they do something they don’t believe in.

  • The Other Tom

    I grew up in NJ. I was told I had no choice and had to stand for the pledge for 12 years. (Maybe 13, I don’t remember if they made us do so in kindergarden.) I wish I’d known I had an option.

    I hate the pledge because it was forced on me, and will only say it in German. (A mindfuck is a terrible thing to waste.)

  • benjdm

    Now, I understand that my parents do have the right to make me stand, because I am, by law, a minor.

    What? No, they don’t. The school cannot take action against you except based on their policies. Your parents could ground you or something based on their own requirement that you stand. But they can’t ask the school to punish you for not taking out the garbage and they can’t ask the school to punish you for not standing for the Pledge.

    AFAIK, you’re on solid legal ground to refuse to stand. Keep in mind I’m one who was too cowardly/apathetic to refuse to stand when I was in school…It’s only been the last half-decade or so where I’ve decided to stop closeting my opinions.

  • JulietEcho

    I can understand compliance with his parents’ wishes. Still, I hope that the principal at least gets straightened out by the ACLU and apologizes (or is forced to apologize) to Daniel for his horrendous behavior.

    When I was called into the principal’s office once in high school (not over an atheist stance, but rather over something I’d written in a blog that I’d accessed during free time on a school computer), I had my personal rights questioned and squashed, but I was too shocked and scared to do anything about it. I cried and apologized and went on with life, hoping everyone would forget it. Only years later did I realize that I had the option to stand up for my rights and contradict the authorities who were lying/mistaken.

    So hooray for Daniel! And I’m hoping that we’ll get an update at some point about the reaction towards the principal by one or several of the many excellent groups who serve as watchdogs in cases where students’ rights are challenged.

  • Jonas

    I have heard of cases like this of minors not wanting to stand for ‘The Pledge.’ Not believing in true ‘Justice for All’ or the existence of ‘Under God.’ Having gone to a private school that did not recite the Pledge, it was something I never had to face.

    However twice I’ve had the Government forcing/asking me to give an Oath, ending in ‘So help me God.’ When I filled out my Marriage License, and when I was called for Jury Duty, at the Voir Dier. It was Federal Court, and very unlikely that I’d get even that far. Still I think I’ll always regret not having the courage to ask to be Affirmed, rather than Sworn.

    So way to go – You’re more courageous than I was.

    Oh – one other time: (Not the government) At a Square Dance convention in Ohio. A Pledge led by the local Boy Scouts. – All were standing anyway, I didn’t have my hand over my heart, or recite the ‘under God’ phrase. — May not have recited all of it.

  • JJR

    I hope Daniel will consider law school someday. He represents the best of the next generation from which future lawyers and critical thinkers will spring who can carry on the good fight as our legal champions in the ACLU, FFRF, Americans United, et. al.

  • James

    I have two young children myself. To be honest, if a headteacher had made that call to me, I would have asked my child what he/she wished and would have backed them up.

    I would be proud if my children grew up to be as brave and freewilled as Daniel and I would back them up to the hilt.

    I live in the UK so it’s not as bad here. I was once sent to the head for not saying the lord’s prayer. He asked why I had been sent to him and I explained that the RE (Religious Education) teacher had got upset and sent me and that I had not caused any fuss – that I had simply looked forward in silence instead of praying.

    To my headteacher’s credit, he smiled – which I remember to this day. He then asked what I “believed in”. I explained that I had no belief in any gods. He grinned then said that he would speak to the RE teacher and added that I shouldn’t have to pray if I didn’t want to.

    What a shame your Principal is not as “principled” as my old head teacher some 20+ years ago.

    All the best Daniel. :)

  • Eric Rost

    From the Wasilla AK High School’s website:

    http://www.matsuk12.us/17762071410517233/site/default.asp

    DWIGHT PROBASCO

    WHS PRINCIPAL

    (907) 352-8213

    DWIGHT.PROBASCO@MATSUK12.US

  • Ben

    As for the “pledge of allegiance”, it’s an absurdity. Only civil servants should be required to swear fidelity to the constitution. Certainly not schoolkids!

    It’s worse than that. The pledge is to the flag first.

    The school cannot take action against you except based on their policies. Your parents could ground you or something based on their own requirement that you stand. But they can’t ask the school to punish you for not taking out the garbage and they can’t ask the school to punish you for not standing for the Pledge.

    The Supreme Court recently let stand a Florida law requiring students to recite the pledge unless excused by a parent. Alaska may have a similar law.

  • CosmicThespian

    Reading stories like this makes me wish I was back in high school specifically so I could follow the examples of these great, independent-minded kids.

  • Mak

    Funny, I’m a high schooler in Alaska, and most of my friends have been sitting through the pledge since elementary school. It’s no big deal; most of the teachers tell us that it’s completely within our rights to do so. I wonder why it’s such a big deal in these schools.

  • EJJL

    I’m a 61 yr. old Viet Nam Vet and I think it’s a great thing Daniel has done. No one should ever be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for any reason. Such recitations are proof of nothing. I definitely think Daniel’s parents should have supported his decision.

  • potatopeeler

    The students in my school don’t care enough to say the pledge. Once they reached high school and realized none of the teachers would make them, they stopped. Now all we do is stand with our hands over our hearts. Sometimes kids will sit, but it’s usually because they don’t realize it’s being recited and teachers will remind them to stand.

    One of my friends sat a few times out of laziness and because he knew they couldn’t make him stand. I don’t think the teacher noticed, though.

  • Danny

    Now that I’ve been in college a few years this kind of stuff doesn’t have isn’t around me any more. I remember when I was in high school I always stood but never said the pledge. It was made clear to the students that we didn’t have to stand or say it but there was still a lot of pressure from the faculty to do so. There was one girl I knew that actually had the balls not to do either, however her reasons for doing so were completely different for my reasons for not saying it and many of the people on this site I can imagine. Regardless of her justification though she took a lot of crap from people, and even though her and I didn’t get a long very well I still felt bad that some people came down on her for it.

  • http://lyvvielimelight.blogspot.com/ Lyvvie

    Why would his parents do that? Are they afraid their good neighbor-loving, turn the other cheek, Christian community will shun or abuse Daniel and themselves? I’d love to send a letter to that principal and tell him what a manipulative toerag he is and he doesn’t deserve to have position in childrens’ education. I feel bad for Daniel that he has no support in Wasilla, he must feel very isolated.

  • gwen

    Daniel, I can understand that as a minor, you need to obey the wishes of your parents. Please continue to speak with your parents about your position, as well as openly speaking with the other students about their rights. If the principal is willing to remove this right from the students, what other rights will he take away? That principal also owes you an apology.

  • Josh Reynolds

    This makes me laugh a little because I did the same thing all through high school and nobody ever said anything about it.

  • GregL

    Wow. This is almost exactly what I faced in Jr. High back in 2002/03. I was screamed at and threatened with suspension or expulsion, until my parents (and my friend’s parents) came to my aid.

    I love that this is getting some press. If I’d gotten press when this happened I’d be psyched.

  • Vas

    Daniel,
    You have my support and admiration. I know well how difficult your situation is as I was in a similar situation around 30 years ago when I was in high school. I also opted not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance and choose not to stand or in any way participate. There were repercussions both with teachers and administrators and as if that were not enough I was repeatedly assaulted by students as well. I endured several vicious beatings over the course of a few years but stood firm in the face of violence, I’m not now nor was I then a pacifist and stood and fought for all I was worth, even at that I still did not escape unscathed, you can’t expect to win all the time and such was my case. In the end it accomplished little and yet I would do it again in a second if need be, for my own peace of mind. If more people would stand up and be counted as you did the treatment you received would become even more unacceptable to the general public and scofflaws such as your principle would be called to account for their illegal actions and made to pay the price for their crimes. I completely understand that you are still a minor and as such are not at liberty to call your own shots, I understand that for the time being you must abide by the dictates of your parents and are right to do so even if it goes against your principles. Time goes by quickly and you will be your own man soon enough. Until then you have my unqualified support as well as the support of many others in the larger atheist community. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors, stay strong, stand fast. I look forward to your participation in the future to help secure civil rights for all atheists and hope you will continue to join us as we demand an end to wanton discrimination and harassment such as you had to endure.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand.

    I understand the principle and the reason for refusing to recite the pledge and fully support it. I think that children should be fully supported in expressing their freedom of choice and I hope that Daniel gets the support of his mother in resisting this violation of his right.

    I don’t understand why school children are expected to recite this pledge or why this expectation is supported by school authorities or by parents. Is it some outmoded idea of tradition or something?

  • CG

    This sort of thing has always boggled my mind.

    It’s been a decade or longer, and I don’t recall if it was only my last year, or others, but in high school, first period (and home room, and so the location of announcements and pledging) was band. While the entire class and teacher stood and pledged, I sat in my seat, clarinet in lap.

    My objections (though a reader of this ‘blog can easily identify an implied, unstated, objection) were primarily that rote recitation undermined any redeeming values the Pledge otherwise possessed. “Liberty” and “justice” have no meaning when mindlessly thrown up without any civic education in which to ground them.

    And my brief exciting story ends just as excitingly – never once did the teacher, or any faculty or staff member, even so much as allude to my inaction, much less cause a ruckus.

    But then, I didn’t grow up or attend school in “real America”. Greater metropolitan New York is indeed a barbaric, uncivilized, place, compared to Wasilla. :)

  • http://notapottedplant.blogspot.com Transplanted Lawyer

    Daniel, you should put yourself on the career path to law school.

    You are right to respect your parents’s wishes — their authority over you is different than that of the school. Until you are 18 yes, you have to do what they say, and they are trying to spare you trouble so their hearts are in the right place.

    Once you turn 18, though, I encourage you to exercise your rights as an American citizen and keep your seat. And if anyone threatens to punish you for it in any way, know that the law is ultimately going to be on your side.

  • tyeson

    This has inspired me, I will do the same at my school.

  • Miko

    @Prime: i’m not entirely sure, then, that you know what fascism means. this isn’t the government forcing anyone to recite pledge (in fact, as indicated, alaska state law says quite the opposite)

    The problem isn’t so much whether recitation is mandatory but that it exists in the first place. It’s also required to be “offered” for recitation by the state laws of many (all?) states. Also, you might consider the de facto vs. de jure issue. Alaska state legislation may say one thing, but Alaska state reality probably says something quite different.

    But you are correct that it’s not technically fascism. Fascism refers to government granting certain corporations monopoly status or requiring people to buy certain products and instituting extremely authoritarian, nationalistic, and militaristic policies. As economics aren’t really involved here, this example only meets two or three out of four criteria.

    I’d think that anyone who has an objection to, say, a daily moment of silence would have a much stronger objection to the daily flag-loyalty oath. If a few students want to gather around the flag pole before school hours and vow to sacrifice their lives upon request to satisfy the whims and ambitions of politicians, they should be free to do so, but they shouldn’t try to coerce everyone else into their anti-social hobby.

    Separation of church and state, school and state, church and school: the first is law, the first two should be law, and all three are desirable.

  • Angela

    I am a senior (grade 12) high school student living in Canada who is going through a similar situation to Daniel. We don’t have a pledge of allegiance but we are expected to stand for the national anthem in the mornings, last year was the first time I have done this since elementary school. If you look up the lyrics, its clear that I have the same reasons as Daniel for not wanting to acknowledge it (the French translation which remains unchanged since it was written is particularly bad: As in thy arm ready to wield the sword / So also is it ready to carry the cross).
    Along with a religious theme, I also find the idea of forced patriotism is meaningless and immoral. I have spoken with my school administrators about this (and I am not the only student in this situation) and I have been told that my options are to leave the building during the anthem or to sit on the floor outside the classroom. The former is terrible on winter mornings and the latter is degrading and ostracizing even more so that just not standing. Through these actions I am still being forced to acknowledge the anthem.
    Sitting makes me look disrespectful, and this is not a matter of disrespect or hatred for my country but I take issue with its anthem and I find it ironic that I am being institutionally forced to drop everything I am doing to stand for a song about freedom. Attendance at my school is a part of our grade so I am marked late or even worse, (if the teacher is too lazy to correct this) absent almost every morning. I feel that I am being punished for not having the same beliefs or opinions as those in a position of power.
    I simply request that I be left alone to continue going about my business when the song plays. I don’t want “special treatment” and I think that it should be optional for all students without so much harassment or shaming. I have been personally chased down a hallway and grabbed on the shoulder on one occasion which I feel is crossing a line.
    I would really appreciate help on this issue and will be taking Will Phillip’s and Daniel Royston’s actions as symbols of inspiration and hope.
    Thank you very much.

  • Reality Chic

    Wasilla High School’s homepage:

    http://www.matsuk12.us/whs/site/default.asp

    And right there on the front page is the e-mail address for Dwight Probasco, Principal

    Dwight.Probasco@matsuk12.us

    Hmmmm . . . .

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Glad you brought this up, benjdm:

    Now, I understand that my parents do have the right to make me stand, because I am, by law, a minor.

    Daniel, your parents have legal obligations to you; they do not have legal control of you. They don’t have the right to make you stand; they don’t have the right to make you do anything except what is legally required of them. You may obey them out of respect, but it’s not a legal issue.

    That said, you’re a brave man. I wish you a lot of luck and hope that you never lose your fighting spirit.

    I also agree with the others who have suggested getting in touch with the ACLU, FFRF, etc. If nothing else, that principle needs to get his head straightened out.

    The Other Tom:

    I was told I had no choice and had to stand for the pledge for 12 years. (Maybe 13, I don’t remember if they made us do so in kindergarden.) I wish I’d known I had an option.

    So do I. So many missed opportunities.

  • Robert Thille

    If I were forced to stand, I’d stand with my arm out in the ‘Heil Hitler’ position.

  • Jim H

    I like Judith’s idea of standing and turning your back. That said, such a gesture is well-understood as showing disrespect. As such, it would be an escalation. Probably not the way for Daniel to show respect for his parents.

    Daniel, I would encourage you to continue your discussion with the principal in a letter. And if I were doing it, I would publish the letter. Local newspaper, school newspaper, or just share it with friends.

    Continue to try to convince your parents to support your beliefs. As others have said, I have a lot of admiration for you.

  • http://dnRoyston.com/ Daniel Royston

    The words of support on here, the near 50 comments (since I last refreshed) are amazing, to say the least. With almost every single comment that I’ve read on this post so far, almost each one has brought tears to my eyes. It’s unfathomable how boggling all the support I’m getting from this issue is.

    There was only one part in the post that I felt was a bit left out on, which was the part of my parents’ decision. I was expecting for them to disagree, I knew there was no way that they would agree, or even understand why I am doing this. However, that is not the reaction I got. Ultimately, my parents chose to censor me on this, and didn’t ask, but required, forced me to stand, as my last email to Hemant read:

    I am sorry to say, I did not end up getting my parents’ consent. In fact, their reaction to it was so surprising, I didn’t know quite what to say. I literally talked with my dad for three or four hours, while he personally attacked me as a human being, and just about shunned me as his son. I asked both my parents about it, if they really were for censoring my views, and expressing views that go against what I believe. They avoided the question, both of them did, but when I came back to it, they both admitted it: they wanted to censor me.

    I will continue reading every single comment on this post. There won’t be a single one I miss, I assure you.

    Thanks for all the support. Thank you Hemant, and thank you commenters. I’ll keep you updated as much as possible.

    If anyone wants to contact me for any reason, I’d love to hear from you at: dnRoyston@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Daniel Royston

  • Gwenny

    Reason #500 for homeschooling

  • Tizzle

    Daniel,
    I was brought up with this issue, as a Jehovah’s Witness. We did not say the pledge of allegiance, and they are the group that took it all the way to the supreme court. I know they can’t force anyone to say the words, I never thought about sitting v standing.

    We were always told to be as respectful as possible (it’s easier to be a persecuted victim that way), so we stood but kept our silence. At ball games, we would conveniently be buying food/drink while the national anthem was sung. We basically didn’t want to make a scene. “We” being my family and especially my (very shy) self. Even without making a scene, everyone knew I wasn’t saying it. I stood out for not celebrating the holidays, too, so people thought I was weird. Ah well, it ended after 5th grade or so. It must be more difficult to make a stand where they are still holding this pledge ceremony in high school. In suburban Mpls, MN, this eventually became a non issue for me.

    To differ with a couple other commenters, I don’t think disrupting the pledge would further the cause. As in, since you’ve chosen to stand, I wouldn’t ‘heil’ the flag or turn my back to it. Also, I totally understand you not wanting to rock the boat too much with your parents while you still live with them.

    I think it’s awesome that this has made the news on any level. What an opportunity for you to speak about the issue on a personal level with someone who might agree with you!

  • Mentat

    Angela’s account reminds me of my own experience here in Canada some 17 years ago. In high school I too came one day to feel that standing for the national anthem (the English version in my case) was objectionable to my philosophy.

    Partly it was the mention of god; partly the line about “our home and native land”–true for those born here, but not so accurate for immigrants like myself, and moreover it obscures the history of the original natives of this land; and partly the biased mention of “sons” but not “daughters”.

    I was summoned to the office of the principal, who discounted my reasons as irrelevant. He said that I would not be permitted to attend school if I would not stand, and when I asked him if my subordination was really more important than my education, he point-blank said “yes.”

    I don’t recall now whether I had read Lindner’s “Must You Conform?” before or after that incident, but it was certainly very pertinent. I strongly recommend it to all youth who are struggling to assert their freedom of thought. Know that you are not alone.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    So frustrating, these stories in the comments. Daniel, I hope you have contact with the ACLU and go forward with action. School (especially HIGH SCHOOL) is supposed to be a place where you learn critical thinking and how to process information. You go there to be taught AND to teach. PLEASE teach your principle something about the freedoms he is so violently taking away from you.
    <3

  • Charon

    Daniel,

    I admire your stand, and am very sorry for the lack of support (and indeed outright criticism) your parents have given you.

    I didn’t stand for the pledge in high school, and did have one conflict with a teacher, but it was nothing like what you’ve gone through. The teacher and I handled it ourselves, and after talking to him and handing him a copy of the US Supreme Court decision on West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), he relented. You were better prepared than I was, with that state statute in hand.

    If it had just been the school, the ACLU would have helped you (by writing a letter to the school explaining the law – most of the time these things don’t require going to court). But they can’t help with your parents…

    Stay strong. Soon you’ll be at a good college, meet lots of freethinkers, and control your own life.

  • Chakolate

    Since he’s not required to recite the Pledge, he should request to leave the room. And he should request it in front of everybody.

    And just because he honors his parents request to stand doesn’t mean he doesn’t have grievance against the principal. He should pursue it.

  • GullWatcher

    There’s no law that says you can’t be stand AND be subversive. One of Daniel’s concerns he mentioned was “never once did I consider the fact that people who couldn’t see my mouth still saw me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance”.

    So fine, stand, but don’t stand still. Look around, stretch, wave your arms, dance in place – anything to make it clear to all and sundry that you are not saying the pledge.

    Will they come down on you twice as hard? Probably. But it’s your choice and your battle. Don’t let anyone stop you from fighting it, if your heart is in it.

    Take it from someone who quit saying it in high school 30 years ago but still stood up (and felt bad about it) – if you continue to fight you may regret it quite soon, but if you don’t, you’ll just regret it later.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Daniel, I disagree with disrupting the pledge ritual. It will unfortunately be seen as “acting out” and will label you as a childish malcontent. You are under an obligation to obey the wishes of your parents and the rules of the school. You could obey these to the letter or you could obey the spirit of their intent.

    I suggest obeying the instruction to stand. This particular battle is lost. However you are still in dispute with your parents and with the school and can continue to fight the war. Write an open letter to your parents, the school, the school paper, the local paper, your representative and anyone else who is relevant detailing the reasons why you should not be forced to make the pledge and how it is an infringement of your freedoms. This is a mature approach that is not disruptive to the school but is potentially very embarrassing for them. You are looking for a change in attitude.

    Use the pledge itself to underpin your point that it is being used to restrict the very freedoms that it espouses. Use the same tactic that creationist use to try to get their ideas taught: fairness. America puts a great stock in the principle of fairness. America was built as a nation of disparate states, all with their own concerns, ideas and agendas. America came together not by quashing those concerns but by marrying them together to forms a greater union. That is your great strength as a nation and your school is turning their back on the principle in order to enforce a rule.

  • Pingback: Tales from the Tubes?—?18/?11/?09 | Young Australian Skeptics

  • Matt D

    Daniel, it sounds like it was pretty tough going with your parents and I feel for you there.

    As a parent myself, i’m pretty sure they really do just want to look out for your best interests. Until you have your own kids you wont understand just how much they love you and are amazed by you (and a bit intimidated given your intellect?)

    My 2cents worth – pick your battles wisely. Sometimes you just need to suck it up a bit – sometimes not. i’m not arguing either side here, just saying to think thru any potential conflict before deciding to go in boots-and-all.

    good luck mate

  • http://thenaturalbuddhist.blogspot.com JohnFrost

    I’m not sure why people are posting the principal’s contact information. Hemant was wise in holding it back.

    What do you think an angry–or, hell, even a respectful–letter to the principal is going to do? You may feel smug, like you’ve given someone a piece of your mind, but Daniel is the one who’s going to have to live with that principal. If he’s decided not to escalate this, emailing his principal is definitely going to have the opposite effect.

    Unless Daniel would prefer us to email the principal our protests..?

  • Steven

    Angela wrote:
    “I am a senior (grade 12) high school student living in Canada who is going through a similar situation to Daniel. We don’t have a pledge of allegiance but we are expected to stand for the national anthem in the mornings”

    It’s been 20 years since I was a senior at my high school in Ontario, Canada. As I recall, they had stopped playing the morning anthem so standing up or not was not an issue. I probably would have anyway (I was pretty conformist back then)but I would have cringed (still do) at the bland music and even more bland WASP lyrics. Even France’s anthem has some bombast. We’re stuck with “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen”. Nice sentiments to be sure but not very inspiring.
    It seems to me that it is equally respectful to exercise the personal freedom that so many have died to protect by not participating. Patriotism seems to take a much milder form here than it does to the south. On every visit to the States I see flags everywhere, but here they only seem to be on public buildings. Perhaps it is because Americans had a revolution and we just politely asked the Queen for her signature.

  • Aimee in PA

    I tried to do a similar thing when I was in high school. By sophomore year I had already stopped reciting the pledge as I didn’t think we should be talking about god in school. I was still standing though. It was after 9/11 (a few weeks after), when I realized Bush was using our infused patriotism to push his agenda, that I started sitting down. I too was told that I at least had to stand. Which I did (unfortunately) without argument. I wish I had had the initiative to start a discussion about it at least. :(

  • Liudvikas

    What does it matter whether he is a minor or not. Parents cannot restrict minors freedom of speech and even if parents strictly told that the kid must stand during the pledge it wouldn’t matter anyways.

  • Neal O

    Daniel for principal!

  • Bryan

    In that situation, wouldn’t it have been better to just stand and say nothing? Others may disagree. But I think it might be better for the student to not say the pledge, but stand so that he doesn’t put himself on the radar for some crazy administrator to target him.

  • http://www.stateofprotest.com Procrustes

    Stand, but face the opposite direction. Is there a policy about that, I wonder?

    It seems the state law confers to the students a legal right not to participate, “A school district shall inform all affected persons at the school of their right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance. The exercise of the right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance may not be used to evaluate a student or employee or for any other purpose.”

    I think it’s fairly clear, then, that Daniel does not have to stand, and anyone who tries to make him stand or threatens to punish him in any way for his refusal to participate is in violation of that law. Within the confines of the school, I think the parents have a significant lack of control — for instance, they can’t insist that Daniel must skip his math classes every day. There have been some religious exceptions for certain classes, and, of course, exceptions for sex ed, but I don’t think the parents actually have the legal power to force their children to stand for the (corrupt) pledge.

    However, his choice to obey his mother’s wish is probably good to maintain a healthy family atmosphere (and to prevent a lawsuit where she would undoubtedly endure a lot of harassment and time consumption). I’m hoping Daniel is making this choice not because he feels threatened, but because he has thought it through and decided that it’s the best course of action for him.

    At minimum, the principal should be fired, and the teacher should be reprimanded.

  • gmcfly

    He ought to play it the other way. “I won’t stand for the pledge because it looks like worship, and it is idolatrous. I will only pledge my allegiance to Jesus Christ, not to a piece of cloth.” Use the Ten Commandments. Fast and pray about it. Throw around Christianese like, “I felt a strong conviction from God,” and that you had to “step out of my comfort zone and make a radical stand.”

    Then the narrative changes from “rebellious teen refuses to honor America” into “secular school tries to indoctrinate young people into worshiping idols.”

  • Ed T

    Bryan,
    It would have been less troublesome for him, certainly, to stand and say nothing. It would have been less troublesome for Rosa Parks to give up her seat on the bus as well. But neither would have been better, if better means improving the world.

  • http://dnRoyston.com/ Daniel Royston

    @Reality chic:

    Wasilla High School’s homepage:

    http://www.matsuk12.us/whs/site/default.asp

    And right there on the front page is the e-mail address for Dwight Probasco, Principal

    Dwight.Probasco@matsuk12.us

    Hmmmm . . . .

    That is not my high school. I do not attend Wasilla High, nor am I even in the boundary zones for it. At this time, I choose not to post the contact information for my school and my principal, simply because this is going through the school district as it is.

    The FFRF has faxed a letter to the Mat-Su Borough School District’s Superintendent. There are about 4 or 5 high schools in the district, and I would rather anyways that no one contact him directly.

    Again, thanks for all the wonderful support. The most influential of these comments are being printed in large type and taped to my wall.

  • Allison

    Wow, talk about flashbacks. The exact same thing happened to my best friend and I in high school. We both objected to standing and my bf even wrote an opinion piece in the school paper saying that it was because she was agnostic. A teacher had a reply published saying, yep, you guessed it, that my friend wasn’t really an agnostic and didn’t know what she was talking about. They were woefully unprepared for the ACLU calling them and sending them letters, something I initiated because I knew they could not make us stand or recite (which was what my friend’s teacher and the principle were insisting on.) Eventually they got off our backs but boy was it exciting for a while there! And extremely frustrating of course. I thought it was funny that I was supposed to be deciding what college to go to, what to major in and basically what to do with the rest of my life but I couldn’t make a decision about patriotism or religion. Hmm… I feel very patriotic about our country and the ideals it was founded on. Daniel is right, he is expressing his freedom. I hope that he inspires other students who may be “in the closet” to come out :)

  • muggle

    Daniel, sorry I didn’t see this sooner but I want to absolutely encourage you. You did the right thing making a stand and you are doing the right thing now by respecting your parents’ wishes. You may have lost the battle but not the war.

    Whether FFRF’s letter will help, I don’t know. They’re very good and have often made a difference. (I’ve been a member for 13 years.) In any case, you have my support and admiration. This was very brave of you and I know you will make a difference in the future if you haven’t already. (You may very will have, in others you’re inspiring as will as in the letter to your school district.)

    I don’t think you’re conceding the battle by standing. You are merely living to fight another day. You gain nothing from the principal (illegal as it might be) standing in the way of your graduation. With the diploma, you can further your education, whether you go into the law or some other field that interests you, and go out into this world as an adult and fight for your rights and those of others. Others’ rights are important because it makes for the society we live in and inevitably protects our own. I’ve a feeling you already realize this.

    I had a friend in junior high with a similar problem with our homeroom teacher who wouldn’t stand for the pledge because he was a Jehovah’s Witness. In the end, he didn’t have to and the principal told the teacher she couldn’t make him but she gave him a hard time for a couple of weeks. He hung in there and we kids backed him up (though if I had that to go back and do over again, I’d encourage the lot of us to sit down with him and do our own sit down strike; I didn’t know my rights back then, I only learned because of his actions that Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t have to) because we liked him and didn’t like the teacher. We did do the pledge but there was a lot of foot shuffling, coughing, sneezing, etc. until the principal made her relent. Hmm, any chance some of your friends might join you in that sort of thing?

    If you’re still uncomfortable with it, you can do what I did in high school and no one will ever notice. I went through a phase where I was really down on America because I was seeing all the things wrong with it and didn’t want to pledge. I took a page from my favorite singer, Paul Simon, and pledged allegiance to the wall. I’d look at the wall next to the flag.

    If you do want to be more obvious, along with feet shuffling, etc., there were a couple of suggestions here. I love the one turning your back and the one about the salute, but either of those is really as blatant as sitting so you probably might as well sit down and since you already decided to respect your parents’ wishes (understandably!) probably not good options. Even foot shuffling and coughing and sneezing are obvious if you’re the only one doing it. In the case of my friend, he continued to sit while we did that.

    Hang in there. Being underaged is a pain but an extremely temporary thing, roughly a quarter of your life, less as people live longer and longer. And keep your chin up! Hold your head high. Even while standing (and continue not to recite, they only said you had to stand) knowing that you made your stand, said your piece and it was heard — unlike everyone else who never said a thing in the first place. Just doing that much, was an act against it and you have made a difference.

    To all the commenters who shared stories, likewise. Hang in there and take pride in having had the courage to do what you can. I’m among those of you who didn’t even know I could refuse (even after my friend I thought it was just a religious exclusion for a religion who didn’t believe in pledging to a country). But we survived and we’re sure making up for lost time now. That counts.

  • muggle

    Now, that’s a weird coincidence. I’m home from work today because my bum leg is acting up (I can barely walk) and just as I hit submit, got a call from the guy in personnel who deals with discrimination and sexual harrassment issues regarding some e-mails I sent him about some sexist remarks made and on-going issues with my boss and the coworker I work with. Keep your fingers crossed. He’s meeting with me Monday. No nothing religion-related — for a change. Just bullying and sexist remarks.

  • Atheisticallyyours

    Perhaps he can say the pledge a BIT LOUDER then everyone else, MINUS those “two little words” that were added in 1954! Then when he gets taken to task for SAYING the pledge, he might incite a discussion involving, “Which one”? I think we atheists prefer the “pre-1954″ pledge. But in any case, KUDOS to the kid for his bravery and intelligence in exercising a Constitutional RIGHT over a so-called “patriotic exercise”! 

  • KidsOfNorthCarolinaSchools

    I was kicked out of homeroom for not standing when I was a junior. I thought it was unfair but I don’t recall any other times for that year. when I was a senior I would stand in my homeroom but I wouldn’t say anything. during regular school days I had a teacher who knew me well so she wouldn’t bother me while I sat, ate, worked, or walked around during the pelage.

    Anyway my friend who is still at the high school had something along the lines of this happen and the principle told her there was a law that said they could force her to stand. we both did some searching but couldn’t find the law. she wans to take this to court. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

    Daniel, i am so sorry your parents are so narrow minded that they do not want you to express or have your own views and belief system> Sadly there are many in the country who are like this. please do NOT let it change who you fundamentally are at heart. I had to disown my own father because he tried to force his beliefs on me, and kept my own children from him as well> but there were also underlying reasons as well that did not even mesh with what his beliefs were. Sort of a satan made me do it bs routine. Always getting absolved at church on sunday to turn around and do it again the entire next week.
    Your parents need to respect you> And the fact that you respect them enough to go against your own beliefs to keep them happy shows such a true strength of character. but please never let your beliefs go for family> Family is only as good as the respect given by ALL parties. And just because they are your parents do NOT make them right in what they are doing, or trying to force you to do. Stay strong huni. I so admire you for being you.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X