Massachusetts Students Banned from Saying Pledge

(I edited the title of this post.  The original title was “Sorry if this is a re-post, but I just saw it.” – promoted by Mike “DD4RP” Rossettie)…

When Sean Harrington entered his freshman year at Arlington High School, he noticed something peculiar: There were no American flags in the classrooms, and no one recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

So Harrington enlisted the aid of his fellow students, and now, three years later, they have succeeded in getting flags installed in the classrooms. But the pledge still will not be recited.

The Arlington, Mass., school committee has rejected the 17-year-old’s request to allow students to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because some educators are concerned that it would be hard to find teachers willing to recite it, according to a report in the Arlington Patch.

Harrington had presented school officials with a petition signed by 700 people, along with letters of support from lawmakers including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.

But the request to have the pledge recited failed when the committee’s vote ended in a 3-3 tie.

Good for you Sean. And I couldn’t agree more with this closing:

He said the school’s ban on the pledge sends the wrong message. “It tells me that we’ve basically cast aside what our country is founded on,” he said. “It’s saying that we don’t really care, and it’s sad.

About TLCWeld

Chairman, Reading Republican Town Committee
Constitutional Conservative
As a son of NH, I choose to Live Free or Die

  • Originally the left argued that schools could not force students to say the pledge because they have freedom of speech.  I agree.

    Now they are arguing that students cannot say the pledge because they do not have freedom of speech.  I disagree.

    The only consistent principle here is being against The Pledge at all costs.

  • I’ll start with a bias, I am from a military family.  I well up a bit when I hear the national anthem or recite the pledge.

    Having said that, I do not understand these sort of circular arguments… people always start off by saying how the military has fought for our freedoms, but when someone goes to exercise one of those freedoms, they are un-American.

    I don’t get it.  Free speech is free speech.  It doesn’t get to be graded on a curve because you don’t like it.

    You can’t force someone to stand and say the pledge… and why would you want to?  It is like standing when you hear the national anthem.  If you are not compelled to stand for it, I don’t want you to… I want society to be proud and want to stand… not make someone stand for it.

    What this kid is doing could be viewed as un-American… it is anti-free speech, forcing people to recite a pledge.

  • from: Town of Arlington Notices

    subject: School Officials Respond to Inaccurate Reports Regarding Pledge of Allegiance

    Arlington, MA, June 30, 2010 – School officials responded today to recent

    misleading reports regarding the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in

    the Arlington Public Schools, a public school district in suburban Boston

    serving 4,700 students.  This response followed the release of stories by

    Fox News incorrectly maintaining that the Arlington Public Schools had

    banned the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Recent media reports centered on a presentation to the Arlington School

    Committee on June 22 by an incoming high school senior regarding his

    campaign to formally require recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance

    throughout the district.  After discussing the issue fully, the School

    Committee split 3-3 on a motion that would have required the Pledge of

    Allegiance to be broadcast in every building via loudspeaker or by a

    willing participant.

    Contrary to Fox News reports, the School Committee did not ban the Pledge

    of Allegiance in the Arlington Public Schools.  Rather, the Committee left

    discretion in the hands of building administrators.  Currently, the Pledge

    of Allegiance is recited in all seven of the District’s elementary schools

    and in the middle school. In some cases, this is done over the

    loudspeaker. In others, individual teachers lead the recitation.

    Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent of Schools, said, “Reports circulating

    in the media that the Pledge of Allegiance is not recited in the Arlington

    Public Schools are inaccurate. Students are welcomed, but not mandated, to

    join in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the morning

    routine in our elementary schools and the middle school.  This practice

    provides leadership opportunities for our fifth grade and middle school

    students who lead the Pledge. Our current practice complies with legal


    In the case of the high school, it has not been the practice for many

    decades to have an organized recitation of the Pledge.  And while this is

    not an unusual situation for high schools, Principal Charles Skidmore has

    informed the School Committee that with the coming school year he will

    place a flag in a prominent location in the main lobby, where he will lead

    the Pledge personally before the commencement of school each day.

    Principal Skidmore said, “I’m excited about bringing the voluntary Pledge

    of Allegiance back to Arlington High School.”

    Prior to providing time on the June 22 agenda for the high school student

    to discuss the Pledge of Allegiance, the School Committee endorsed the

    student’s campaign to provision all high school classrooms with American

    flags.  This project was successfully completed two years ago with support

    from school administration.

    School Committee Chairman Joseph A. Curro, Jr. praised the student for his

    commitment and thanked him for his oral testimony before the School

    Committee.  Mr. Curro also expressed interest in reading a written copy of

    his petition, collected signatures, and letters of support, which were

    unfortunately not made available to Committee members at the time of their


    Curro noted that while the student has at times requested a formal

    voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, last week he

    unexpectedly and explicitly demanded that the School Committee enforce a state statute that was ruled constitutionally invalid by the Supreme

    Judicial Court in 1977. This statute threatens teachers with monetary

    penalties for failure to recite the pledge or to force the students in

    their charge to do likewise.  The Arlington School Committee was

    specifically advised in a memo from Town Counsel Juliana Rice that this

    law is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

    Curro pointed out that the motion before the School Committee was for a

    new policy, and that it should probably have been ruled out of order.  The

    School Committee has an explicit procedure for policy adoption involving

    multiple readings to allow full public input and to ensure that any new

    policy conforms with legal requirements.  Accordingly, Curro has asked

    Judson Pierce, the chair of the School Committee’s Policies and Procedures

    Subcommittee, to research the policies of other districts and to consult

    with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees regarding policy

    formulations that would meet legal muster.

    Curro stated, “Arlington has a proud patriotic tradition.  We are the

    birthplace of ‘Uncle Sam’ Wilson and the site of the bloodiest encounter

    on the first day of the American Revolution.  The recent discussion of the

    Pledge of Allegiance represents a continuation of these traditions, and I

    hope that it might provide the springboard for a deeper educational

    dialogue around civics and public participation.

    “It is unfortunate that the national media has chosen to distort this very

    serious debate in a manner, which so badly misinforms the public.  Recent

    reports have done little to present the facts about our school system and

    our community, and have been seized upon by many people throughout the

    country to target our dedicated school leaders with unwarranted hate mail

    and threats.”

    Dr. Kathleen Bodie

    Superintendent of Schools

    Arlington Public Schools

    Joseph A. Curro, Jr.


    Arlington School Committee

  • to recite the pledge.

    Chapter 71: Section 69. Display of national flags; pledge of allegiance; penalty for violation

    Section 69. The school committee shall provide for each schoolhouse under its control, which is not otherwise supplied, flags of the United States of silk or bunting not less than two feet long, such flags or bunting to be manufactured in the United States, and suitable apparatus for their display as hereinafter provided. A flag shall be displayed, weather permitting, on the school building or grounds on every school day and on every legal holiday or day proclaimed by the governor or the President of the United States for especial observance; provided, that on stormy school days, it shall be displayed inside the building. A flag shall be displayed in each assembly hall or other room in each such schoolhouse where the opening exercises on each school day are held. Each teacher at the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools shall lead the class in a group recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag”. A flag shall be displayed in each classroom in each such schoolhouse. Failure for a period of five consecutive days by the principal or teacher in charge of a school equipped as aforesaid to display the flag as above required, or failure for a period of two consecutive weeks by a teacher to salute the flag and recite said pledge as aforesaid, or to cause the pupils under his charge so to do, shall be punished for every such period by a fine of not more than five dollars. Failure of the committee to equip a school as herein provided shall subject the members thereof to a like penalty.