2008-05-24 / Editorials & Letters

More questions on Millersport Pledge of Allegiance

Editor:

I was very pleased to see Mrs. Reasoner's and Mr. Thorton's letters in the May 3 Beacon. They made it be known for sure that the "issue" of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is very important to many members of our community. I also received the opportunity to read Mrs. Thomson's note dated 4/19/08 for the first time. My daughter had not received the note, because of illness, she was absent. After reading all of these letters, I still had a few more questions.

After reading the statement in Mrs. Thomson's note, "Please know that we will continue to honor the red, white and blue with the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance within individual classrooms and collectively every Friday," along with the statement in Mrs. Reasoner's letter, "My youngest daughter faithfully says the Pledge of Allegiance daily in Mrs. Clark's Class."

Good Job Mrs. Clark!! My first question was directed to my daughter's teacher, Mr. Prince, on Monday morning (5/5/08). I asked him if the Pledge of Allegiance was being said daily in the classroom. He said, "Yes, as of two weeks ago." I then asked him if it had been said daily prior to that. He said, "No. it had only been said sporadically in the classroom and "collectively" on Fridays."

My next stop that morning was Mrs. Thomson's office. I was planning to ask her why wasn't anything said about the Pledge being said daily in the individual classrooms, when I spoke to her at my daughter's parent-teacher conference last winter, and why only Fridays were specificallymentioned. Or when I made the statement/question at the recent kindergarten registration meeting, "I know the Pledge of Allegiance isn't being said very often, are these children even going to learn it?" The answer was that the Pledge will be said "at least once a week." Nothing was said at either time about the Pledge being recited daily in the individual classrooms. But, Mrs. Thomson was unavailable due to attending a school meeting in Amanda.

So, I decided to stop in and speak with Mr. Thorton. We had a very pleasant conversation and a few things were cleared up. My first question for Mr. Thorton was, "Is it school policy that the Pledge of Allegiance be said daily?" He said "No," and explained to me that he has been the superintendent of three different districts, and none of them used the same "routine" to recite the Pledge. Some said it daily, some weekly, some in individual classrooms, and some always "collectively." He also said that the teachers are directed to keep the Pledge "in front of the students" by posting it in the classroom, but it is basically up to each individual teacher how often/or if at all they want to recite the Pledge in their classroom.

At this point I would like to thank all of the teachers that have always taken 45 seconds out of their busy mornings to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with our students. It really is a great way for them to start the day.

Another point I felt was very important was, if the kindergarten schedule remains the same for next year, there is a big chance that those students will only have the opportunity to recite the pledge once every two weeks. Mr. Thornton replied by saying, "Yes, there is a chance of that, but along with helping your children with reading and writing at home, you may need to help with this also. You can do that. We all need to work together." He then finished the conversation by saying, "There's not much I can do about it now, but at our annual teachers meeting at the beginning of "next year" in August it will be requested that the teachers recite the pledge more often in their classrooms, but again they can not be made to."

So, I'm still a little confused on how Mr. Thorton can have the statement in his letter, "We feel the matter has been cleared up internally and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance will continue to be said on a even more regular basis." And, how Mrs. Thomson can make the statement about the pledge being recited daily in the individual classrooms, when not all of the teachers are doing it, and they can not be made to.

I know we live in a country that allows us to have freedom and individual choice. Whether we want to recite the pledge or not is a personal matter. But I would have to agree with Mrs. Reasoner that watching the busy children stop in their tracks, putting their hands over there hearts, and reciting the pledge is a beautiful thing. I know I'm not the only parent who would say that if some get the right not to recite it daily, the ones that do want to, should receive the same right. I believe a simple solution would be for the pledge to be recited "collectively" daily. That way every individual in the school can make their own choice on a daily basis. Dina Keihborth Walnut Township

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