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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Beacon staff: MAST Academy students should not feel pressure to say Pledge

U.S. flags on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2007. Students at MAST Academy have reported feeling pressure to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Photo via Lipton Sale / Wikipedia.

To most students in the United States, standing up and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has always been a part of their school morning routine. While it is standard and even required in 47 out of the 50 states, still, many of us ask why. 

In the United States especially, schools are packed with students from all over the world with different ideas and opinions on the same topic. They have different family backgrounds, political affiliations, and religious beliefs. While some students may be proud to put their hand over their heart while looking up at the flag of the United States of America, other students might see their struggles as an immigrant in America or their feelings as a target for prejudice and discrimination invalidated. 

While many in the student body firmly believe in the pointlessness of having to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, some see this as an act of respect for the country they live in. “I believe that despite your nationality, it is an unspoken rule to stand up as a sign of respect for any country’s pledge. It is an effortless act of kindness that demonstrates mutual respect,” junior María Mercenari said. 

“There’s a lot of things that happen in this country that I disagree with, and I don’t think that I should be showing support if I don’t actually mean it,” junior Panni Peschke said. The societal pressures around the Pledge of Allegiance are shown through students who do not have a reason to stand up or sit down. They do either one simply because everyone else does.

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“For the most part, I do stand up mainly because everyone is doing it,” junior Samantha Ponce said. 

The United States law prohibits public schools from forcing students to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, as it is backed up by the First Amendment and reaffirmed through Supreme Court cases. Although these legal codes indicate students can never be coerced or pressured into standing for the pledge, both students and teachers in MAST Academy have expressed that they do feel pushed to stand. 

“In the past it was brought up to not just monitor but maybe record people who weren’t standing. That was very, very brief and in the past and thankfully nothing ever came from that because that would’ve been very concerning. I wouldn’t support that,” English teacher Mr. Nicholas Partagas said. 

Other teachers, however, believe that students should stand up and pledge out of respect for their country. 

“They should be because it is showing respect to the civil part of the country. It’s the least respect that we should have, and we have to have that responsibility as a person living here in the United States,” Math teacher Ms. Avendano said. 

Two supreme court cases have held that students do not have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance: West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette and Lipp v. Morris. So, why is it that students are, more often than not, expected to stand and pledge their allegiance to the country? There are a multitude of reasons for which a student wouldn’t want to stand and swear their loyalty, yet, there is a looming sense of expectation and pressure to do so. We stand with the idea that the pledge should not be obligatory, and should a student choose to not stand, they should not be punished or criticized for doing so. 

As a school and community, the act of standing up to pledge to the flag demonstrates respect and patriotism towards the country of the United States. In this realm of respect, the classroom should not oblige students to stand up toward the flag. The actions of students and their opinions should be respected. If a student does not choose to stand, it is their right. If a student does choose to stand, that is their right. Within the classroom, peer pressure and criticism should not become the drivers for unity in the United States.

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