It's time to stop requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

I think there is something vaguely Third Reich-ish about this practice, and I’m surprised that, in today’s culture, that there hasn’t been more of an outcry against it.

First of all, there are some students in US schools who aren’t American.

Secondly, I don’t see how it really accomplishes anything. I find it doubtful that reciting a Pledge of Allegiance actually inspires patriotic feelings or actual allegiance in a student’s heart.

Third, it is a form of indoctrination, and there’s already too much of that in the education system and in society already, IMHO.

They aren’t required to recite it anywhere. They can typically sit quietly, stand quietly or leave the room so long as they aren’t disruptive. That said, I’d be fine if public schools stopped doing it altogether.

Some people interpret “not required” as “banned”. :dubious: Sorry, those words do not mean the same thing.

I don’t think any student has ever been required to repeat it. I wasn’t, and I didn’t, and no teachers ever pressured me to say it. I remained silent, and when asked to take my turn to lead it, I said I didn’t want to, and that was because I was Aspergers, and characteristically shied away from pageantry performance of any sort, including singing Happy Birthday. I still do. My teachers and classmates were always cool with that.

I suspect that a great majority of classrooms in America have at least one student whose family are not citizens. When my wife was once in a group that started a meeting with the Pledge, she stood silent, and explained that she was Canadian. One astonished person said “Don’t Canadians say the Pledge of Allegiance?”

These two paragraphs seem somehow contradictory.

The reason why the law on the matter is so clear is that children were required to say it on pain of expulsion. That’s why there was a federal court case that ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

I stopped saying it in school in 1968, when I was 13. No repercussions.

As others have said, West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette prohibited students from being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

That said:

Godwin’s law and etc. What’s problematic about the Third Reich was ultimately its genocidal anti-Semitism, ideological calls for endless wars of conquest, and political authoritarianism. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with say imitating the German autobahns in our Interstate freeway system or implementing Blitzkrieg tactics just because they were pioneered in the Third Reich. Indeed, I very much am impressed by the aesthetics of the Third Reich.

Our atomistic individualist hedonistic culture does have some limits.

What do you mean not American? If you mean international students who are visiting or going to school here because their parents are working here, these guests of ours can stand respectfully as they do when our National Anthem is sung. But those are only a small minority, immigrant children who came here with the intention to stay all their lives are American and ideally the Pledge will further the end of their Americanization.

I agree-like prayer, the recitation of the Pledge cannot be a merely dry, empty ritual. The Pledge, therefore, must be tied to an active curriculum that seeks to instill national consciousness in youths. My mother has told me that there used to be (I believe) monthly schoolwide assemblies back in Korea accompanied by speeches, flag-raising, singing of patriotic songs, and the like. Perhaps it is time something along those lines were to be implemented here.

Well it certainly doesn’t look like, given the rampant atomistic individualism and social hedonism of our culture and society. And there’s nothing wrong with “indoctrination” provided the ideas being inculcated are desirable and true ones-consider our education system’s rightful focus on implementing values such as tolerance regardless of racial, ethnic, or sexual differences or practicing recycling and water conservation. No education system can be value neutral.

I agree that it’s a mostly empty ritual, bordering on creepy. I stopped saying the pledge in high school, but will stand politely without calling attention to myself.

That said, I’ve never felt the urge to rise up against the practice. To me, it’s one of those things that I wish would just die on the vine without any fanfare. Life would likely be slightly better without it, but the act of taking action to oust it would probably just prolong its existence.

I feel much the same way about hockey.

I was forced, sort of, to recite it. My third grade teacher led it every day, and I didn’t understand what it meant, so one day, after a rant by one of my uncles about not signing something you don’t understand, I stood silently. My teacher noticed, and told me I’d better recite it. I said I would if she explained what it meant and I agreed with it. I got sent to the principal’s office, and my parents were called. My father’s response was “Tell her what it means.” The principal explained it to me, and since everyone was feeling all patriotic gearing up for the Bicentennial, I decided to say it. It wasn’t any different from the songs we were singing in music class.

RikvahChaya: My experience was very similar to yours. I refused to recite the oath, and got punished for it. In my case, it was corporal punishment: I was paddled on the backside. My school teachers and administrators had never heard of the Supreme Court case!

I never have recited it since, but I did accommodate by standing silently. If “mouth movements” were necessary – and I had teachers who watched carefully – I’d just silently mouth meaningless words. (“I recite these words against my will, because of illegal authority…”)

(It was many years later that I learned any of the obscene variants – “I take a leak upon the flag of the insipid spate of hysteria…”)

These events have actually made me more patrotic, in that I now have a fuller understanding and appreciation of the Constitution, and the desperate importance of the freedoms it promises.

Immigrant children did not come here with any intent at all. Several million school children are undocumented aliens, and quite a lot of Americans would rather expel them than Americanize them. Should we further the end of their Americanization before they are deported?

I recently talked to an elderly African American, who went to school before the civil rights act, in Texas. I asked him what he thought about, with his hand on his heart, talking about “liberty and justice for all”. He said he didn’t think about it. And therein lies the crux of the thing – children are not taught to think about it, only to parrot it. What is the point of making that mandatory?

Public institutions should not be creating loyalty oaths. That’s reaching into the minds of citizens, which the government should not be doing.

Nor should they be creating situations in which one should have to publicly decline to repeat a loyalty oath.

I dunno. I always think of a pledge as something that you say once. Then you’re, you know, pledged and you don’t have to say it again. I said my wedding vows once. Presidents take the oath of office once (per term, anyway).

Is it really a **pledge **if you have to say it every single morning?

Very good question. Very useful story.

Only because I’m feeling a bit pedantic, and because I just finished writing a book on the subject of undocumented alien children so the stats are fresh in my mind…the best estimates of the number of undocumented immigrant minors hover about 1.5 million, so schoolchildren probably don’t number much more than a million.

Not to invalidate your point or anything. And you are quite right, students in this situation came here simply because their parents were coming. “I was 8,” said one girl I quoted in the book. “What did you expect me to say? ‘Sorry, Mom, sorry, Dad, I’m not going?’ Who was I going to stay with? I was 8.”

Around 8th or 9th grade, I became moderately radicalized (Vietnam and getting mom to let me grow my hair long and other stuff of those Times) I reworded it.

Now I’m older, and I have 2nd Commandment issues with reciting it also.

Our school reads it over the intercom every Monday and Friday mornings. My students all stand, but only half parrot the silly thing.

It’s pretty low on my list of things over which to feel outraged and superior. Neither I nor my students recite it. Ww wait while somebody says it over the PA system and then go back to whatever we were doing.

My kids had somewhat sporadic use of it in elementary school - depending on the principal.

My daughter figured out early (second or third grade) that she had a problem with it and sat. There was one phone call home, I said she had a right not to say it, it was dropped.

I think I was a HS senior (which was 1954) when they added “under god” and I have never recited it since. I was always pretty much an atheistic (or at least agnostic) and I thought that was an abomination. I had never had a problem with it before though, although in retrospect it is pretty asinine to make people recite it.