When Pleasanton students head back to the classroom in a week, they'll start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance — a tradition that goes back generations.
In California, as is the case with most states, classrooms in public schools are required to offer "patriotic exercises." Most do take part, of course, but some students object to the phrase "Under God" and refuse to take part in the daily routine.
Spokesperson Nicole Steward of the Pleasanton Unified School District told Patch, via email:
California Education Code requires the daily performance of "patriotic exercises" in all public schools; the statute states explicitly that reciting the Pledge fulfills this requirement. For primary schools, these exercises are to take place at the beginning of the first class period at which a majority of students begin the school day. For secondary schools, the "governing body of the district maintaining the secondary school" decides the time and manner in which the patriotic exercises are to be conducted. Although California requires "patriotic exercises," there is no facial requirement that students take part in them. Educ. §52720 (2005).
Students are required to take part in the pledge, but should they be? Patch posed the question to users last week on Facebook and received a flurry of feedback.
See what readers had to say on the Pleasanton Patch Facebook:
- Tony Russo There should be time for a pledge, if a student doesn't want to say it, they should remain quiet during that time, Anyone with issues has the right, as an American, to move to any other country they wish to pledge allegiance to.
- Rena Tapia Pessano Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My son is a United States Marine and I believe in who and what he represents!! Hopefully people remember all past wars and the reason behind them and have pride of where we are and have now!
- Jodie Dunbar Levingston I grew up in Pleasanton an attended it's schools throughout high school. We were required to say it until about Sophomore year at which time, we were given the choice. Pretty much no one chose to participate. In my opinion, it is a complete waste of time and has no place in our schools. If parents want to force their own children to say it everyday at home, they should go for it.
- Mike Lee They should say the pledge because they want to, they should not be required to.
- Beecher Adams It should be the school's decision
- Alyshia De La Rosa Aren't we Americans isn't that why everyone wants to come here because its so great don't take away our right for those who don't then don't but at least be respectful to our soldiers whoa dr it possible for everyone to be here and enjoy this land!
- Katie Lüxmann My family moved to America due to work reasons. Our son says the Pledge of Allegiance at school, mind you, he has no idea the meaning behind the words nor does he really "Pledge an Allegiance". I think it's fine for the little ones but I think it shouldn't be forced onto the older children and nobody has the right to condemn those who choose not to participate for any reason.
- Susan Swan-Moody It is a privilege and honor to say the Pledge of Allegiance in schools no a requirement
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 read as it does today, without the controversial 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."
So, should students be required to recite it? What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.