Parent thanks writer for publicizing Pledge issue
Thank you, J. L. Burns. It did my heart good to read your letter in last week's Beacon.
I'm a 33-year-old mother of a fourth grader that attends Millersport Elementary. My fourth grader told me last fall that students were no longer reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis like they sue to. Actually, they were lucky to recite it once a week. At first, I though maybe they had missed it a few times and she was exaggerating a little, but she insisted that was not the case.
When my husband and I attended our daughter's parent-teacher conference last winter, I personally asked principal Cheryl Thomson about students not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis. She said students only say it because they've memorized it and because they "have to." Not because it really means anything to them and the mornings are so "busy" anyway. I told her I remember saying it every morning when I was in school and that's what marked the "official" start to our day. I also shared with her that my daughter missed saying it. Ms. Thomson then turned to my daughter and said that if it meant that much to us, they would start saying it on Friday mornings after students return from Christmas break. My daughter was excited about that and I accepted it as better than not at all.
For the first few weeks after Christmas break, students recited the Pledge but then it was missed here and there and sometimes for two or three weeks in a row. I've had conversations with a few other parents in the community, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if they believed me or not. Maybe they thought I was making a big deal out of "nothing," or maybe they just didn't want to get involved. So, I was very happy to see last week's letter.
I recently attended the kindergarten registration meeting because my other daughter will start kindergarten in the fall. Ms. Thomson lead that meeting and she asked if there were any questions. When it was my turn, I asked, "I know the Pledge of Allegiance isn't being said very often; Will these children even learn it?"
She replied that it will be said at least once a week. Because I know how much it has been missed since they were supposed to be saying it on Fridays, I don't put much faith in that statement. Also, if our kindergartners continue to keep the current practice of two days one week, three days the next, they will only get the opportunity to say it every other Friday.
I findit interesting that every morning there is time for announcements about what's for lunch that day, what's for breakfast the next day, that week's theme, and special activities like a skating party, but it is not important enough and there's not enough time to teach our children the Pledge of Allegiance and what it means, where it came from and why it is so important to so many of us.
I don't know who J. L. Burns is or how you learned about this, but I am grateful that you found a way to bring it to the entire community's attention.
I do apologize to my daughter, her friends and classmates and all the parents of Millersport Elementary students for not finding this way myself and taking action when this first came to my attention last fall. I encourage everyone - community members, students, parents and veterans - who is concerned about this issue to write Ms. Thomson voicing your concern and the importance for Millersport Elementary students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis. Dina Kiehborth Walnut Township