By Kirsten Peterson
It’s been a part of your child’s morning routine for years, beginning as early as kindergarten. Your son or daughter wakes up, gets dressed, eats breakfast and heads off to school. And not long after they sit down at their desks, your child and his peers rise again—this time, to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
With a new school year just around the corner, Patch wants to know: Is pledge recital a necessary display of patriotism, or should the practice evolve?
A Damascus High School student who disagreed with United States government policies towards her native Puerto Ricowas harassed in April for choosing not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Maryland General Assembly mandates that each county Board of Education and Baltimore City Public Schools requires all students and teachers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Specifically, they must “stand and face the flag and while standing give an approved salute and recite in unison the pledge of allegiance,” according to the Code of Public General Laws of Maryland.
A copy of Montgomery County Public Schools’ Student Right and Responsibilities posted online notes that students have the right not to participate in patriotic exercises and should not be penalized for doing so.
“Our schools do recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the day, but students are not required to stand or participate,” Dana Tofig, spokesman for the school system, told The Washington Post when asked about the Damascus High student.
Maryland’s Code says that students and teachers must recite the traditional text of the pledge, which includes the words “under God.”
However, the Code states that any teacher or student who does not wish to stand or recite the Pledge will be excused from doing so.
With a new school year beginning in Montgomery County, Patch wants to hear from you.
Do you think children should be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school? What do you think of the state’s exception for those who do not want to say the Pledge?
Share your comments below or start a conversation on our Boards.