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OPINION - Say the Pledge in school

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Today is the first day of school in most districts. If you have a child in school, I hope you'll ask them a question when they get home.

Did you say the Pledge of Allegiance?

You'll probably be disappointed in the answer. And you should ask your child's school, "why not?"

The sad truth is that in many schools the Pledge is not said daily. In most schools it's said once a week (usually on Fridays, on the day that students instead of adults do the announcements).

I've asked about this before, and none of the reasons I've heard are satisfactory.

"It takes up too much time." Absolutely, it does not. Standing to recite the pledge takes about a minute. Anyone who offers that reason is being disingenuous.

"We think once a week is sufficient." Perhaps. But why is nothing else deemed 'sufficient' once a week? Even health and gym are offered two and three times a week... and I've noticed that at sporting events we don't limit the National Anthem to Fridays only.

"We're a multi-cultural society these days. Not all of our students are American citizens." And, in that case, those students can stand respectfully while those students who are Americans salute their country, whose taxpayers fund the very schools that those non-citizen students attend.

The real and often unspoken reason is that many schools think that it isn't their job to teach patriotism. It's the same reason that civics -- the study of the workings of American government -- has vanished from the curriculum. And why history has become a "neutral" subject; and American people and events are de-emphasized in favor of a multi-national approach.

So our schools that shun bake sales and Christmas concerts don't have time to teach love of country. Ask about it. And let your voice be heard if you don't like the answer.

Chris Conley


IMAGE: The American Flag, by Stefano Brivio via CreativeCommons.com