School now enforcing Pledge of Allegiance law


Grace Farley

Photo illustration by Grace Farley

Park administrators began enforcing Minnesota Statute 121A.11 on April 18, which mandates a weekly recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance school-wide.

Despite dissenting reactions from students, the editorial board believes the administration’s action is justified.

As established in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, students have every right to opt out of reciting the pledge for any reason they feel necessary.

The school district is legally bound to carry out the Pledge of Allegiance each week, so it is only right that students are given an option to honor the flag if they so choose.

However, the issue the editorial board takes with the action of administration on this issue is they have not educated students about the pledge. This is prominently seen with many students who attended elementary school at Park Spanish Immersion. Here, students learned the pledge in Spanish and may not have fully understood it in English.

To combat this, staff should both help students memorize the words of the pledge as well as teach students where the pledge originated and why it is still recited in schools today.

Because many students have not recited the pledge since elementary school, if ever, the new practice has little impact.

Helping students learn the Pledge of Allegiance would make the practice more efficient and allow for an understanding as to why it is recited.

To mitigate this, the editorial staff recommends teaching students the words, significance and history of the Pledge of Allegiance during their civics class as ninth graders.

This will enable all students to recite the pledge, as well as give them the tools to form their own informed decision on whether or not they choose to participate in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance each Monday.

While this is the opinion, the potential for conflict between students for and against this policy during a divisive time in the country is also recognized.

However, the board believes with increased education about the Pledge of Allegiance and by including the option for students to decline participation, the practice proves to be minimally controversial and allows students a chance to express their patriotism if they wish.