When Petaluma students head back to the
classroom next week, they'll start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance or
some other “appropriate patriotic exercises” — a tradition that goes back
In California, as is the case with many states, classrooms in public schools are required to offer the pledge or a patriotic exercise like singing the National Anthem daily, but students are not required to actually stand up and recite it. Most do, of course, but some students object to the phrase "Under God" and refuse to take part in the daily routine.
The issue has surfaced nationally. Earlier this year, a state lawmaker in Arizona introduced a bill to require students to recite the pledge. Other states, including Oregon and Nebraska, have had discussions on whether to require the pledge to be recited in schools.
For three decades, the pledge didn’t have the 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."
We asked the question on Facebook and got a wide array of answers.
“No,” said Brian Way on Facebook. “Mindless mantras are for church. They should learn US and world history and be encouraged to be civic-minded.”
Cindy Pearson disagreed saying, “Yes. It's YOUR country. It helps to build allegiance and loyalty to the country that takes care of YOU! The good old U.S. of A.”
“No they shouldn't "have to" participate.,” says Karuna Gerstein “They should be educated about the nature of patriotism, invited to explore what it means to them, then given the choice to participate or not.”
What do you think? Should the Pledge be required? Should we drop “under God”? Tell us in comments.