It’s a pity when ideological bullies get placed into a position of power over children.
The Southside High School sophomore, who took issue with the pledge’s “under God” clause, sought legal assistance from the secular advocacy group after her high school teacher reportedly threatened her with disciplinary action if she did not rise for the daily oath.
According to an AHA press release Tuesday, she was also told by the teacher “in front of her classmates that not standing for the Pledge ‘is disrespectful to America and to military personnel.’”
The AHA knows how to deal with bullies:
“Pledge exercise at Southside High goes beyond just the classroom mentioned above. We have been informed that teachers — and even an administrator — in your school have inappropriately pressured students to participate in the Pledge exercise,” Tuesday’s letter stated. “For example, students have been told that nonparticipation is disrespectful and unpatriotic, that nonparticipation would itself be disruptive, and that participation is expected because nonparticipation would encourage others to opt out.”
Citing the Supreme Court’s 1943 ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which protects public school students from mandatory participation in the Pledge of Allegiance, the AHA demanded that teachers “allow students to opt out of the daily Pledge exercise, cease to persuade students to participate, and not punish or reprimand students who choose to remain seated.”
“Forcing students to participate in the Pledge against their will is an infringement on their constitutional rights,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said in a statement Tuesday. “By singling out students who do not wish to participate, the school is discriminating against children who are good without a god.”
I wish this had happened in Massachusetts so their ruling earlier this month might get reviewed.
A servicewoman made this comment on my facebook page and I wanted to share it:
This always baffles me. If, as a military member I am in fact protecting people’s right to exercise freedom of religion and expression, then why should I find it offensive when people actually exercise those rights, just because a third party doesn’t like it? It seems I should be more offended at the third party’s willingness to restrict others’ freedom.
Ayup. The people disrespecting the sacrifice of our military personal wasn’t the student who refused to say “under god”, it’s the teacher and the administrator that sought to coerce her to do it.