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Pushing the Pledge

Across the country, people are watching NFL players choose to sit or stand during the national anthem. At Camas High School, a similar issue is happening around the Pledge of Allegiance. Students hear the Pledge every day, but not everyone is reciting or even standing.

It is not a national requirement to stand and recite in school, but many people are peer pressured into saying it. The issue is now a controversy for both teachers and students. 

Since the building of Camas High School, reciting the Pledge has been a standard and the expectation, but as the years go on students are finding their voices, many of them choosing to not recite or even stand for the Pledge. Teachers have different requirements for the Pledge; some teachers require students stand and say the pledge, while others do not. Either way, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington, all students are required to “maintain a respectful silence”. 

In preschool, students are taught to learn and recite the Pledge every day — 180 days out of the year. That means from preschool to senior year in high school a student says the Pledge 2,340 times.

Sophomore Holly Stark says some teachers have told her to stand for the Pledge during class. “The decision to stand or sit for the Pledge should be solely up to the students and should not be ridiculed by the teachers.” She says this has already happened multiple times this school year.

On the other hand, sophomore Alexia Carlson likes to “stand because I don’t want to disrespect the people who fight for our country, but I don’t say it because I disagree with the people who run our country.” Carlson is joined by many other students who choose to stand but not recite the Pledge. This might be for different reasons such as standing for soldiers, for the country or because of peer pressure.

Teachers’ responses to students sitting for the Pledge are varied. Mr. Bohac, a geometry teacher, says, “I respect each person’s choice, but as a teacher I want the student to explain their decision.” Many other teachers agree with his stance. English teacher Ms. Widdop says, “I recognize why they’re doing it; they have the freedom to stand, sit, say it or don’t.”

While fewer people may be standing and reciting the Pledge, it is important for students to examine their reasons why and for teachers to hold students accountable to express those reasons.

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