The High School Student Who Didn’t Stand for the Pledge Tells Her Side of the Story

Chelsea Stanton is the student from Collingswood High School (New Jersey) who didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Her district’s code of conduct required all students to stand during the Pledge, but because of Chelsea’s activism, they’re going to change that.

Now, Chelsea has put up a YouTube video explaining her side of the story. The good stuff really begins at the 5:50 mark:

My favorite part: Where she goes to her teacher and administrator with the law that says she doesn’t have to stand up for the Pledge… and then they tell her Fine, but don’t tell anyone about it.

She didn’t listen. She told she media. And that’s how she got the district to change its policy. (A brilliant move.)

She’s graduating on Tuesday and I hope she gets a huge round of applause when she walks across the stage. She’s well-deserving of it.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • flyb

    Good for her. It would be absolutely terrific to see “under God” and “in god we trust” removed from the pledge and currency, like the old days before that crock was added. And stop playing God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch!

  • TheAnalogKid

    Has the harassment and the death threats started?

  • Tom Spademan

    Applause!  

  • Daniel Lasris

    I am proud to see kids standing up for their constitutional rights and will not back down! This is what it means to be American!

  • Annie

    Great job Chelsea!  If you happen to be reading this, can I offer one piece of advice?  Please consider finding another word to describe something that you think is stupid to replace using the word “retarded”.  I understand that the textbook definition of this word is not insulting in itself, but it carries a derogatory meaning in our culture of people who have done nothing to deserve being made fun of.  You seem like a very bright and thoughtful person, and it would be a shame for people to think otherwise of you.

    Sincere congratulations on your graduation!

  • treedweller

    @11:00 “that is your personal belief system and you can’t tell anyone about it.”

    Oh, the irony. Go, Chelsea!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    There should be a law against prohibiting people from telling other people about the law.

    That is, it’s legal to tell people about a law, and should be illegal to try to prevent that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

    If you don’t do as we do yo’ll go to hell
    If you don’t do as we do you’ll go to detention
    If you don’t do as we do you must hate America
    If you don’t do as we do you must hate Jesus

    It’s all so familiar.

  • ortcutt

     There really needs to be First Amendment training in Education Schools.  These are pretty basic mistakes that public school teachers and administrators shouldn’t be making.  Also, government employees should have enough understanding of the law to know that just because a statute is on the books doesn’t mean it’s good law. 

  • http://seanpratt.info Sean P. Pratt

    Here is a true story: years ago when my daughter was in middle school, she told my wife and I that she doesn’t want to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I told her she doesn’t have to and my wife argued that she must stand up and show respect.

    We actually argued about this for a quite a few minutes. My youngest daughter (in elementary school at the time) and her sister both told me that they can get into trouble if they don’t say the pledge. I knew this could not be true, but I gave it due diligence.

    The next day I called the superintendent and asked if the students have the right to not say the pledge or even stand up. He said they did. I told him my daughters and their friends were under the impression that they can get into trouble if they don’t. He denied that any statement has ever been made to that effect.

    So where did they get this idea? Well, I kept pressing him to teach the children in every grade what their rights are. These kids should know what the Pledge means before reciting it and that they have the right to not recite it. His response: “Well, we don’t want a bunch of students not participating because they simply don’t want to.”

    “I raised my voice on this one: “But it’s their right!” He wasn’t having it. He believed that this level of dissension would be harmful to the maintenance of order at the public schools. That was one school district in MA. It is like that across the board. One thing he mentioned is that the school is required by the No Child Left Behind Act to have the Pledge recital conducted daily or lose federal funds. It is also a state requirement in MA.

    Chelsea Stanton’s story is equally disturbing. She was told that she has the right to not stand, but she was not allowed to tell anyone. The reason is that school is about manufacturing order and indoctrinating our children. Nationalism is a form of fundamentalism. It is cultish in every way. It is also anti-patriotic. The Pledge of Allegiance is anti-American.

  • Waltz707

    Thank you for what you are doing! I have been persecuted for not standing, and it has taken 3 long years to clear the way for non-belivers at my middle school….

    Now if I can just influence my high school…


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X