How 'bout you shove the flag up your ass, instead of writing me up? (long, mild)

The junior class (which I am part of) had an assembly this morning, regarding student government. This was fine, seeing as I fully support SGO. In fact, I was going to run for SGO president this year, on the socialist platform, but that got shot down by The Powers That Be and my lack of time to do so.

As the entire junior class was in the auditorium as opposed to homeroom, we got a real, live version of the morning announcement spiel - “Good morning. It is Thursday, May 29, lab day 5, one week until finals start…please rise for the pledge of allegience.”

I don’t. Originally, this wasn’t a political statement, but I just think it’s stupid. I don’t really agree with the pledge, as I have an Issue with swearing my undying loyalty to a nation (giving my word means a lot to me, and I simply don’t swear utterly loyalty to this nation,) and I find the phrase “I pledge allegience to the flag” simply rediculous. Recently, though (since the ‘war on terror’ got, IMO, utterly out of control), it has become something of a political statement for me. I’ve always been allowed to express this and not stand for it, so long as I’m respectful. I love this country for that freedom. My homeroom teacher understands why I choose not to stand, she respects that. Life is good, no?

Huh, apparently not. I was sitting in the back row of this assembly, just by chance. Therefore, Mr. Blind Patriotism English Teacher (BPET) astutely observed my lack of standing. People haven’t even sat down when he barrels down the aisle, and pounces upon his prey.

He asks (as if he cannot believe his very eyes) if I didn’t stand for the pledge. I reply: “No, I didn’t.” My tone, please note, is far from disrespectful. He inquires as to why not. I respond that I choose not to, for several personal reasons.

Now, the first SGO candidates are being introduced, and we’re getting a dirty look from across the auditorium. I’m usually more than happy to explain (if asked) my reasons for my not standing. But in the middle of a speech which I’d like to hear just doesn’t strike me as the best time for doing so. Maybe I was a little abrupt, I’ll concede that.

BPET takes personal offense to this, and issues an order to me: “Come with me.” I suddenly get the distinct feeling that I’m about to be led into Room 101, where a mask filled with rats will eventually be thrust towards my face. But again - I have my well-thought-out reasons for my actions, and I’m more than willing to explain them. If it means missing a little of the first speech, so be it. So I bite my lip and follow Señor BPET out into the hallway, as my friends look as if they’re watching a funeral procession.

He faces me in the hallway and demands to know why I think I have the right to be so disrespectful. My response: “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to show any disrespect. I choose not to lightly pledge allegiance to anyone, and my personal beliefs don’t condone many of the recent actions of the American government. I like to keep my word, so I choose not to say the pledge. I believe that I’m well within my rights to not rise for it, so long as I’m not disrespectful.”

“So you’re trying to make a political statement?” I take a deep breath before responding, and say that I suppose I am. THis doesn’t sit with Mr. BPET, at all. “You’re only sixteen, so what makes you think you have the right to make uninformed statements like this? I find it disrespectful!”

Oh, well this is fun! “Sir,” (and yes, I did address him as sir. I didn’t know his name, and addressing him as “Nazi-Man” seemed like a bad idea. “I’m sorry if you felt insulted. But I really don’t think I’m making an uninformed decision, and I’m not just doing this to be rebellious.”

“If you had any respect for your country, you would be saying the pledge! We just passed memorial day - do you know why we observe that? What are you so oppressed by? You can’t even vote!”

“Actually, yes, I do know why we observe memorial day. My sister is in the Air Force, my grandfather served in World War II, and I’m fully aware of the sacrifices made. I didn’t say I was oppressed, I said I don’t condone the current trend of our government. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. The point that I can’t vote is part of what I am opposed to though, as I read two newspapers every day, which is a bit more than the average American, and I do take an active interest in politics.”

He continued to rave at me, for a good few more minutes, about how I’m to young to know anything and I should be ashamed of myself. He then wrote me up for blatent disrespect for a teachers authority, or something, which is going to be interesting to discuss with the assistant principal.

So basically, I got fucked over this morning. Not sure how to handle this, but I’m damn sick of people telling me I don’t know anything because I’m sixteen. I do read at least the lead articles and op/ed pages of the Philly Inquirer and NY Times every day. So, anyone know a nice way to say “The Patriotism Police at this school need to get the flagpoles pried out of their asses?” Funny, I thought that there was something in that pledge about “liberty and justice for all…” :rolleyes:

I don’t like that you don’t stand for the pledge but I respect your right not to do so. I really, really don’t like that ignorant turd of an English teacher. You may want to give a call to those newspapers that you read and tell them your story.


Yes, but what I want to know is to you have to say “god”?

So if not reciting the pledge is making a political statement, what is reciting it?

I think it’s admirable that someone’s actually acting to avail himself of the rights which I’ve defended.

Tell your teacher that the Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot make you stand during the pledge, nor recite it, and if they really love this country, then why are they not honoring the laws of it?


NinjaChick I feel you hun. I had the same problem back in the day and this is how I dealt with it

I went to the principals office and politely demanded a session with the Almighty One (Our name for the principal). When I told him what happened he called the teacher into the office and we had a conference. I told them that I felt my rights had been violated and that the write up was bogus. The teacher said I was disrespectful and I should be expelled for 2 days. The principal hadn’t seen me get rude and I handled myself very well and politely reiterated my stance. The principle saw that I was being truthful but still gave me a write up for “lack of participation” I could handle that.
I hope your outcome is favorable.

:applause: NinjaChick, I waged a similar pledge battle in high school, almost 15 years ago, and I prevailed. Good for you. Keep it up. You’ve made your point eloquently and intelligently.

One is not required to participate, in any manner whatsoever, in the pledge ceremony. At least, it’s not legally a requirment.

Does the OP go to a public or private school? Does going to a private school make a difference with respect to his/her legal rights?

Public, but I don’t think that should matter. I’m not entirely sure on the court rulings, though. That’s on my list of stuff to do tonight (look it up.)

NinjaChick, you have a responsibility to address this issue with your school’s administration. Do it, or the stupid teacher lives to be stupid again.

You are certainly not too young to make (or not make, as it were) political statements. And don’t worry about the socialism stuff. You’ll grow out of that. :stuck_out_tongue:

BrightNShiny, a private school can compell you to do just about anything as a condition of attendance, including pledges, prayers, and so forth.

I believe it does matter, and I used the whole “separation of church and state” to make my case, FWIW. Private schools tend to have a bit more latitude in such issues.

I’d back you, either way, though. I won a stare-down with an Indiana school board, back in the late '80s, about the very same thing. It would just be a more difficult case if it were a private school.

Seeing people say the pledge always gives me the creeps, makes my brain flash images of old grainy footage from WWII I saw on the History Channel, thousands of troops almost worshipping some piece of fabric… feh.

Good luck to you. I was refusing to say the pledge for the inclusion of the part about “God” long before I understood why it really bothered me. Sometimes I will stand, but make no effort to conceal the fact that I’m not participating.

I never got written up (whatever that means) for it, but sometimes I wish someone had decided to make a stink, so that maybe some of the other people who were uneasy or uncomfortable with it would realize they weren’t alone and didn’t have to do it just because everyone else does.

[hijack] What exactly does a ‘socialist platform’ for a high school student government consist of? [/hijack]

IMO, the school has NO right whatsoever to force you to stand for the pledge. Both actions (standing, not standing) are political statements, and as such it’s a matter to be decided by each indivdual as to which course of action they will take. I admire you for standing up for what you believe in.

IANAL, but I think you have a legally defensible case here. Don’t back down. Good luck with your research on the matter, may it be very fruitful. :slight_smile:


I’m thinking you also have a cause for a case against the school system.

Free, publicly funded schools for every child! Oh wait…

I applaud you. Your actions may help other students in the future from having to go through this.

Research as much as you can and come well armed. And keep your cool. Just because they are being disrespectful doesn’t mean you have to lower yourself to their level. You will lose all credibility if you do.

Please keep us informed! Good luck:)

Redistribution of grades? :smiley: