by Autumn Johnson
Campbell kids start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance — a tradition that goes back generations.
In California, as is the case with most states, classrooms in public schools are required to offer "patriotic exercises." Most do take part, of course, but some students object to the phrase "Under God" and refuse to take part in the daily routine.
Spokesperson Nicole Steward of the Pleasanton Unified School District told Patch, via email:
California Education Code requires the daily performance of "patriotic exercises" in all public schools; the statute states explicitly that reciting the Pledge fulfills this requirement. For primary schools, these exercises are to take place at the beginning of the first class period at which a majority of students begin the school day. For secondary schools, the "governing body of the district maintaining the secondary school" decides the time and manner in which the patriotic exercises are to be conducted. Although California requires "patriotic exercises," there is no facial requirement that students take part in them. Educ. §52720 (2005).
Students are required to take part in the pledge, but should they be?
Patch posed the question to users last week on Facebook and received a flurry of feedback. With 119 comments and counting, Livermore residents have opinions about the subject. See what they had to say:
- Cory Noltensmeier Remove Under God and I'd be more willing to hear it. Under God not added until 1954, not a part of the Pledge. They added to show we were separate from communism.
- Herb Russell No free American should be "required" to put their allegiance in a country or Government over God. And for all those that said 'NO', thank Jehovah's Witnesses for going to the Supreme Court in the early 1940's and winning the right to choose.
- Matt Hart This is supposed to be a free country, so no, they should not be required to say it. However, their objection should not take away the right of the rest of the class to say it.
- Keith Dale No. Unless they make it non-denominational like it was originally written.
- Shannon Pervere Touchy subject. Like many things as this nation has evolved ethnically, culturally, and religiously the pledge had not changed. I don't see anything wrong with pledging your alleagance to this country and it's flag but feel the under God part should be ommitted.
- Paul Thomas i say yes, and leave it all the same, as we do have and support freedom of religion, Under God doesn't state which god or religion.
- Cj Cassarino Remove "under god" and then everyone can say it. As it stands it should not be required.
- Aggie Santos Mount Yes! With "Under God" as it has been for YEARS!
- Sierra Grasseschi Under God is a must!
- Marie Higgins Not sure required is the right word, if they don't want to say it for personal reasons they at least need to respect others that do.
For three decades, the pledge read as it does today, without the controversial phrase, “Under God.” But in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed for Congress to add the phrase to combat communist threats, leaving Americans with the 31-words we have today:
"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."
So, should students be required to recite it? What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.