Sit Down, Relax. It’s Just the Pledge of Allegiance

While it will no longer be considered a necessity for all students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, they will have to provide a note from parents in order to invoke the new right. The Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has delivered a somewhat indecisive opinion about the lawsuit brought against a Florida school system for not allowing students to remain seated during the pledge. A Florida teen introduced the lawsuit after he was reprimanded for his lack of respect for his country and sent to the office for the remainder of the school day all because he remained seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. In his eyes, the decision to stand or remain seated is an important expression of individual rights, one that was violated when he was given the limited options to either stand or leave the class.

Instead of answering yes or no to the question of where rights of the individual end and allegiance to our country begins, in this instance, the court is leaving the decision up to parents. A law drafted in 1942 requires all public schools to lead students in the pledge at least once a day but in the year following, the Supreme Court established that no student could be forced to recite it. Atlanta’s circuit court faced quite the dilemma as allowing all students to remain seated could potentially cause a lack of pledge participants while forbidding them to sit could have been considered a threat to their religious beliefs. In light of this conflict, parents, one of the strongest decision-making bodies in a teen’s life, will be responsible for determining their child’s stance during the pledge. As for the precedence in this case, it looks like as long as you’re living under their roof, you really do need to follow their rules.


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