A School District Apologizing

…for expecting a child to show respect for our country and its symbols of patriotism.

A Southern California school district will apologize to an 11-year-old atheist who says his teacher questioned him because he didn’t stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

[The student] says he kept his seat during the morning pledge at Monte Vista Middle School in San Jacinto earlier this month because the words “under God” in it violate his beliefs.

He could have stood with his hand over his heart and remained silent. He could have stood and recited the pledge, remaining silent while the phrase was being spoken by his fellows.

The binding nature of the pledge is questionable with children of this age; they’re unable to make decisions on their own, both legally and nearly always from a practical/maturation perspective. But that’s why they’re in school—to learn. Besides, the simple rehearsal of the pledge would have had its own value.

The Pledge of Allegiance, after all, is about much more than just a phrase about God, a phrase whose role in the Pledge merely is an acknowledgment of our national heritage. The Pledge is all about patriotism and fidelity to our country and the liberty for all which our country defends. A liberty which includes the freedom to worship, or not to worship, as each of us pleases.

Here was an opportunity to teach the child something about respect, something about our country, something about patriotism.

Instead, San Jacinto’s school district is going to teach a lesson of an entirely different sort.

This is shameful.

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