When Dublin students head back to the classroom in a week, they'll 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.See what readers had to say on the Dublin Patch Facebook page:
- Olesya Clark Schools are institutions of learning, not political brainwashing.
- Linda Sofen Knapp Nope! Does nothing to make my allegiance to my government stronger. Never could stand being forced to say it as a kid and my kid shouldn't be forced to either.
- Stan DeStill The overwhelming objection is to the "under God" part, which I share. Everyone lives in this country and should respect it (and its flag). Not everyone believes in God, a god, or any religion for that matter. If a child is allergic to peanuts, no one can bring peanuts to school and everyone suffers. But, if a child doesn't believe in God, they are still forced into it at school. Logically inconsistent and hypocritical, in my opinion.
- Terra Davidson Well if you don't know why you say the pledge you should get some education. And yes 100% they should learn the meaning of it and say it and if they or their parents don't like it they can find another home.
- Terra Davidson Once upon a time we were a nation under God and little by little we have told him to stay the heck out of our lives the heck out of our country the heck out of our schools and he being a gentleman has done that and look where it's gotten us
- Audra Lovelace Schmierer Absolutely 100% YES!
- Kristy Tennyson Lijesen Why do we make such a huge issue about the simplest things. We grew up doing it and as a kid i never once thought, hmmm, is this about religion and god? No! I thought we were honoring our flag! Then when the pledge was over, we moved on with our day and I never pondered about the pledge of why we had to do it. I can't believe how people get so caught up on stuff like this. Your kids only know the depth of something when you instill it into their heads over and over like teaching to hate. My kids think they are honoring their flag too and they take pride on that at school everyday!
- Moe Asgharnia They should be required to first know what it means. No point in memorizing and saying it if they don't understand it...
- Scott Carpenter Yes it should not be a requirement it should be a tradition. Like singing the national anthem at a sporting event
- Brian Roudabush Hell no! Especially not since "under god" was added long after the fact during the McCarthyism 50s. Stop trying to indoctrinate my kids.
- Colleen Greer Pearson Yes and do it proudly! We need to get back to tradition and culture. If we don't, this generation will lose it.
- Alvin Lui Definitely
- Mark Dzebissov Remove the "under God" addition, and then sure.
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.