Administration to enforce Pledge of Allegiance

Old practice reemerges following student advocacy

Photo+Illustration+by+Grace+Farley
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Administration to enforce Pledge of Allegiance

Photo Illustration by Grace Farley

Photo Illustration by Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Photo Illustration by Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Photo Illustration by Grace Farley

Abby Intveld, Dani Orloff, and Emma Yarger

Having not stated the Pledge of Allegiance since elementary school, senior Sam Wooden said he was inspired by the opportunity to honor the United States and its flag at school.

“We haven’t done the Pledge of Allegiance at all even though it’s in the student handbook,” Wooden said. “I think they should do it once a week because it does pay respect to the flag.”

According to School Board Policy 531 and Minnesota Statute 121A.11, St. Louis Park Schools are required to state the Pledge of Allegiance one or more times during the school week within each individual classroom or over the intercom system.    

According to Principal Scott Meyers, the high school will begin reciting the Pledge of Allegiance April 18 during first hour to fulfill the state requirement.

“We will start on a Wednesday, which will be a little unconventional, but I wanted to give some time to notify our staff because it will be a change,” Meyers said. “Moving forward it will be every Monday to start the school day.”

Senior Joe Holloway said because of the diversity within Park, he believes stating the Pledge of Allegiance frequently will cause dissenting reactions.

“A lot of people, even though they live in America, they don’t respect what’s going on in America,” Holloway said. “I feel like it will probably cause more problems than there is.”

Meyers said several high school students expressed a desire to begin stating the pledge every week, since it is one of the weekly procedures outlined in the student handbook.   

“The students advocated for it and did their homework and said, ‘hey this is something that should be done,’ so we’re starting it up,” Meyers said. “It’s something that should be happening at least once a week, possibly more.”

According to Meyers, the policy was not followed last year because it was scheduled to be under review by the School Board. Meyers said he felt reinforcing the policy would not have been appropriate at that time.

“In our particular building at the time the clarification was made was at a point where it would appear divisive, and I didn’t want to send that message at all,” Meyers said. “So this year, not to say we’re past all conflicts, it is a school policy and there were students asking for it, so we want to honor student voice, so we’re starting it back up again.”  

Junior Navjot Kaur said she feels the implementation of School Board Policy 531 will create unnecessary tension in the current political environment.  

“It’s a controversial topic so why would it be added now when we haven’t done it for years? It’ll make classes more Republican versus Democrat,” Kaur said.

Social studies teacher Brad Brubaker said he does not have any issues with having the Pledge of Allegiance once again become a part of Park’s weekly routine.

“I think that countries have patriotic things that they do and (the Pledge of Allegiance is) one of ours, and I know it’s a state law and a board mandate,” Brubaker said. “We’ve done it. It’s just fallen off recently. It’s always been a ‘this is what we do in school’ kind of a deal.”

According to Meyers, under School Board Policy 531, students who do not feel comfortable reciting the pledge are not forced to participate.

“Students in school must respect another person’s right to make that choice,” Meyers said.

Brubaker said he believes the policy does not feel forceful and students in the past have been able to comfortably decline participation in the classroom. 

“I didn’t worry about who wasn’t standing or who was, I just turned and faced the flag and said the pledge as a role model,” Brubaker said. “I’ve had some students who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they don’t take a pledge to anything other than God, and people that have objections to parts they don’t think are appropriate.”

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