Kids saying the pledge of allegiance - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-13-2010, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So DC (8 and 6) were reciting the pledge of allegiance over dinner tonight. They say they HAVE to say it every friday at school. Then I asked if they knew what it meant, they dont have a clue. DD8 said it meant helping the world. I explained what i think it means, and this is what i told them. I said it meant that you promised to be loyal and good toward America. I made let them know that what is "good" for America isn't necessarily good for the world. They still don't really get it, it's sort of like teaching about thanksgiving or MLK jr. I suppose at this age at least. Would you have your kid's say the pledge? what do you think of this requirement? Rarely do adults have to say the pledge I can't actually think of the last time i did.


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Old 01-13-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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We don't say it because of our faith tradition. It's not supposed to be a requirement in any public schools, but we've run into some teachers and administrators who have a big problem with my kids not saying it. One teacher actually tried to insist that my child stand, put his hand over his heart, and pretend!

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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It's one of those things I don't care for but am not really interested in making a fuss about, you know? Once I was old enough to grasp the concept and actually have opinions on nationalism and such I stopped saying it, personally. I expect, if it's an issue, my children will do as they like at that point as well.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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Technically, they don't have to say it. I doubt it was presented as a choice, but this has made it to the Supreme Court and if either they or you informed the school that they won't be saying the pledge anymore, or even if they just stood or sat silently, the school must respect that.

Personally, I don't think that saying it is a big deal, so long as you don't have a specific reason why you don't want to say it of course. By that I mean if you have a political, religious, or just plain personal reason why you don't want to say it. If that's the case, then I think forcing anyone to say the pledge is a serious infringement on civil liberties and I would happily sign your petition/make a phone call supporting you/write a letter to your congressman. But barring that, I don't think it's a big deal. I don't think that it will actually brainwash children or make them blindly patriotic. I had to say it every single day from kindergarten through 8th grade, and I don't think it did me either any harm or any real good. It's just a poem that'll come in useful at professional sporting events or if they become politicians.

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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I teach in a suburban high school, and our principal leads the Pledge over the loudspeaker every Monday morning. Students are welcome to join, but not all of them do. It's their right to choose.

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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i stopped saying the pledge in junior high when i began an earnest study of the bible and realized that it was actually idol worship. my kids have never said it, though they do stand respectfully while others recite it.

its NOT a requirement in school, anymore than it is a requirement to be vaccinated. well, it may be a requirement for the school to lead the the students who CHOOSE to join in, but it certainly isnt a requirement that you choose to say it.

OT, but i still remember learning the american pledge of allegience in french class..je jure ma fidelite au drapeau...LOL

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I'm not a fan. But it isn't a big deal to me, and like someone said, I think of it as a poem that's useful to know in some social situations.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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My daughter's school said the pledge every day at the beginning of school, along with some sort of pledge to Texas. I take issue with a small child pledging their allegiance to anything, it is wildly inappropriate imo. She was given the choice to either sit or stand silently while the rest of her class recited the pledges.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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Heh. When I was little I thought it was about witches (for which/witch it stands) and ghosts (indivisible sounded like invisible to me). I couldn't figure out why the two were so meaningful we had to recite anything to/for them.

We homeschool but I'm with some of the others in that I wouldn't expect my kids to recite it if the school requested but it wouldn't bother me if they did. I don't have any strong convictions against it so it's just kind of off my radar. My dh might have more problems with it, though. He just tends to have stronger feelings about things like that than I do.

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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I said it every morning from kindergarden to the last day of high school in my small town, public school. We did discuss the meaning of it when we were older, but not when we were 5. But, everyon had a choice to say it or not, none of us were forced to. I'm proud to live in this country so I said it!

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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I don't think kids that age are too young to be introduced to the Pledge, MLK and Thanksgiving in an age-appropriate manner.

I would explain to my child the history, meaning and purpose of the pledge, perhaps researching it together to find out more and to answer any questions. And my child can choose whether or not to recite the Pledge or to modify it in any way (I personally omit the "under God" part because it's not true). I would not object to my child choosing to say it or not to say it, especially if they were equipped with knowledge about it.

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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I dislike the word "allegience" as much as anything. That word is related to feudalism, when a serf, or leige (related word) would pledge service, or allegience, to the feudal lord. The idea of my kids pledging themselves in that way bothers me. And my dd started saying this in preschool at 3. She couldn't possibly understand the implications of pledging herself to anything. So if she wasn't authentically pledging herself, why was she saying it? It was to get her used to the idea of pledging herself, which I think is creepy. That's what bugs me.

But I don't think it really has that strong an affect on kids, so like I said it isn't a big deal. I still don't like it.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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I work in a high school and they read the Pledge over the announcements every morning. I hate it. However, all I require students to do is stand quietly. NO hands over hearts, no reciting the words if they don't want to.

Personally, I will recite it but I will not say the words "under God". Those 2 words were added to the pledge in the Joe McCarthy era by the same folks who perpetrated the communist witch hunt.... and I don't believe they belong in a public school.

I'm just so dang uncomfortable by the whole idea of the pledge, but as a coworker tells me... "You can't fight city hall."

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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I teach at an elementary school and we have students conduct morning announcements, included in that is our power pledge and the pledge of allegiance. my students are all special needs and nonverbal so both are somewhat of a moot point anyway, but I do have a huge issue with the pledge of allegiance for a few reasons and do not, nor would I ever, insist on any student reciting it. We have gone over the power pledge (I better my world and I better myself by being respectful, responsible and ready to learn) and my aides and I often recite it during circle time. I like our power pledge far more than the pledge of allegiance and I think it carries more value to our student body.

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:11 AM
 
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Personally, I will recite it but I will not say the words "under God". Those 2 words were added to the pledge in the Joe McCarthy era by the same folks who perpetrated the communist witch hunt.... and I don't believe they belong in a public school.
This is one of my reasons for disliking the pledge of allegiance so much. I rarely say it but when I do find myself in an environment where I don't feel like going against the grain I will recite and just omit the "under god" part ( or if I'm particularly snarky I'll say "under goddess" instead

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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I find it majorly creepy. The flag is a symbolic piece of cloth. I don't have any particular allegiance to symbols. That has nothing to do with how I feel about the country.

Our schools say it and I hate it. The kids have no idea what it means, so they parrot it a la Little Red Guard. It is settled law that schools cannot force kids to say it, but that doesn't stop many ill informed teachers and administrators from trying to made kids rattle it off.

My children don't say it, which is their choice, but they've gotten crap from a few teachers.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:21 AM
 
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I love the idea of the power pledge!

I,too, teach in a suburban high school and several years ago I got inspired by a young radical Christian to not say it. That summer I was all geared up to stand up for my beliefs...and then the first day of school came and i automatically fell into it. After years of repetition i believe i just couldn't help it. I think I am going to try hard to think about why I do it. Some of my objections are the same as others above. I love my country, but why do i need to repeat a pledge to a piece of fabric every morning? Shouldn't the things i do for my country be what matters?

And as the daughter of a veteran i have great respect for those people, but i have been pretty irked by the JROTC guy at our school who has actually sent out berating emails about people not saying the pledge!

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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And as the daughter of a veteran i have great respect for those people, but i have been pretty irked by the JROTC guy at our school who has actually sent out berating emails about people not saying the pledge!
That would irk me too. Can you maybe send an email to the principle saying that while you are really empathetic (no, really, totally), you're afraid that it could be crossing some tricky constitutional ground and the emails are making "some people" uncomfortable?

That's totally what I would do.

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:30 AM
 
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I think it is important to help children understand loyalty and honor, this is what the pledge means to me - I also encourage them to NOT say the 'under god' portion, as this is not apart of the lesson I wish them to learn. I think that Americans can be grouped together, having commonalities, without bring religion into the mix.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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Well I'm pretty sure it's just read over a loudspeaker at our kids school and they don't have to say it. Hmmm, I should check on this actually - it's something that started occurring to me just last week actually. We're heathens and the "Under God" part really doesn't fly well for us, but, on the other hand, the LAST thing I really want to do is get in a pissing match with the school and make my kids stand out in a bad way, kwim? I don't think it's a big deal in the school, though I'd probably better check!
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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I've never felt ok saying the 'under god' part, even when I was in grade school I remember staying silent for that part.

The whole things kind of creeps me out honestly.

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Old 01-14-2010, 02:27 AM
 
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I said it every morning from kindergarden to the last day of high school in my small town, public school. We did discuss the meaning of it when we were older, but not when we were 5. But, everyon had a choice to say it or not, none of us were forced to. I'm proud to live in this country so I said it!
Just wanted to point out that you can definately be proud to live in the US and *NOT* say the pledge of allegiance. It's not an either/or.

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Well I'm pretty sure it's just read over a loudspeaker at our kids school and they don't have to say it. Hmmm, I should check on this actually - it's something that started occurring to me just last week actually. We're heathens and the "Under God" part really doesn't fly well for us, but, on the other hand, the LAST thing I really want to do is get in a pissing match with the school and make my kids stand out in a bad way, kwim? I don't think it's a big deal in the school, though I'd probably better check!
I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to themselves as heathens (and not be joking. versus pagan...). Anyway, can I ask what this means? If you don't want to get into it, that's fine.

 

 

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Old 01-14-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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I dislike the word "allegience" as much as anything. That word is related to feudalism, when a serf, or leige (related word) would pledge service, or allegience, to the feudal lord. The idea of my kids pledging themselves in that way bothers me. And my dd started saying this in preschool at 3. She couldn't possibly understand the implications of pledging herself to anything. So if she wasn't authentically pledging herself, why was she saying it? It was to get her used to the idea of pledging herself, which I think is creepy. That's what bugs me.

But I don't think it really has that strong an affect on kids, so like I said it isn't a big deal. I still don't like it.
I talked about this with my dd, a lot. She's probably so sick of my lectures, poor kid!

Anyway, my take on the pledge is kind of like Spiderman, great responsibility with great power, or privilege, in our case.

I consider myself very lucky to be born here and to be able to raise my children here, and I also feel I have a great responsibility to be involved and make my voice heard. I don't expect that all my values are going to be represented all the time, but I understand that the great thing about having a fairly free press and freedom of speech is the chance to at least voice my disagreement. And it is my patriotic duty to do so, in fact. That's why I became irate when people claim that complaining about the government or the direction of the country or anything to do with it is unpatriotic or treasonous. It's the most patriotic thing an American can do, IMNSHO.

Whew! Sorry for the rant! That's the lecture my kid gets about the pledge, and I think it's fine for her to say it as a good reminder of the privileges and responsibilities she has inherited by being an American.

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Old 01-14-2010, 02:43 AM
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As a non American with an American born child, there is something viscerally disturbing to me about the pledge.

It has echos of German fascism to my mind... Get the children indoctrinated in a culture of "AMERICA IS THE GREATEST/STRONGEST/BEST NATION ON EARTH", and the 'rest' of the populous will follow. I'm very uncomfortable with it.

I have no idea if my son will enter the US school system or not as he's only 2.5 so it's not anything I give any great thought to at the moment.

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Old 01-14-2010, 03:03 AM
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This is an interesting story that touches on the topic.. I have the actual book... it must be at least 40 years old now. It's not long, and a good bit of it focuses on how kids understand the pledge. James Clavell wrote it after his daughter came home from school one day talking about memorizing the "Pledge 'Legiance".

I used to stand but not say the pledge when I was in school... my understanding was that this was my legal right.

And we all know that the "under God" art wasn't originally part of the pledge, right? It was added during the 50s, IIRC.

 
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:31 AM
 
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As a non American with an American born child, there is something viscerally disturbing to me about the pledge.

It has echos of German fascism to my mind... Get the children indoctrinated in a culture of "AMERICA IS THE GREATEST/STRONGEST/BEST NATION ON EARTH", and the 'rest' of the populous will follow. I'm very uncomfortable with it.

I have no idea if my son will enter the US school system or not as he's only 2.5 so it's not anything I give any great thought to at the moment.
Funny you should compare it to some other culture. I'm not familiar with any other country in the world that expects a rote recital by its citizens to its flag, or anything else. I'd be interested if anyone can tell me about a similar practice elsewhere.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:19 AM
 
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As a non American with an American born child, there is something viscerally disturbing to me about the pledge.

It has echos of German fascism to my mind... Get the children indoctrinated in a culture of "AMERICA IS THE GREATEST/STRONGEST/BEST NATION ON EARTH", and the 'rest' of the populous will follow. I'm very uncomfortable with it.

I have no idea if my son will enter the US school system or not as he's only 2.5 so it's not anything I give any great thought to at the moment.
And this is why it creeps me out.

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Old 01-14-2010, 04:43 AM
 
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DH and I both agree that we are not big fans of reciting the pledge and don't plan on teaching our kids to recite it. We plan on homeschooling and I know that at some point I will teach it to them, but we certainly won't be putting our hands over our hearts and saying it to the flag. I guess I'll teach it from a historical standpoint, but that's about it.

The way we view it...our allegiance is to God and that's it. Yet, ironically, I also disagree with "under God" being in the pledge as well.

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Old 01-14-2010, 04:45 AM
 
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The way we view it...our allegiance is to God and that's it. Yet, ironically, I also disagree with "under God" being in the pledge as well.
I don't see it as all that ironic. Not wanting state imposed Christianity isn't just a non-Christian idea.

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Old 01-14-2010, 05:28 AM
 
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OT, but i still remember learning the american pledge of allegience in french class..je jure ma fidelite au drapeau...LOL
we learned it in latin class! "Fidem meam obligo, vexillo civitatium..."
Whenever I wish to impress someone with a useless talent, I point out I can recite the pledge in a dead language!


To the OP, they can not require your children to recite the pledge. I would guess that the school is aware of this, as I'm fairly certain I learned that in history class, lol. However, some administrators are more enlightened than others in such areas. I think we said it daily in elementary school, and then once week when we were older. Once I was old enough to figure it out, I started leaving out "under god" on my own since I was raised atheist. When I learned it was introduced due to McCarthyism and wasn't even originally part of it, it reinforced my stance on that. In my experience, most groups are open to non participation in things you are opposed to for whatever reason. My mother requested that I not sing a certain song in music class (I believe the lyrics were- "Oliver Twist, you can't do this, so whats the use in trying?") and whilst sitting out was not much fun, there were no objections from the teacher. In fact, I dont actually recall my mother telling her this, she simply told me to tell the teacher my parents wouldn't allow it.
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