Last year, as Splinter News reported at the time, a teacher in New Jersey was suspended after he bragged about failing students who refused to participate in the pledge.
“They refused to stand, saying ‘they didn’t have to[.]’ I told them that is true and that what makes this country great is ‘that I didn’t have to pass them either,'” Steven Solomon, the teacher, confessed. He was later suspended for his actions.
Though many public schools in the country continue to treat standing as the pledge as compulsory, the U.S. Supreme Court has said forcing students to do so is a violation of their constitutionally-protected rights. The court, as the ACLU explains in an on-line manual directed at students, “has held that it is just as much a violation of your First Amendment rights for the government to make you say something you don’t want to say as it is for the government to prevent you from saying what you do want to say.” All students, the civil liberties group says, “have a right to remain silently seated during the pledge.”
In a 2009 column that appeared on Common Dreams, entitled ‘The Pledge of Allegiance Is Un-American,” Michael Lind put it this way: “In a republic, the people should not pledge allegiance to the government; the government should pledge allegiance to the people.”
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