Last May, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the HF 847 bill that mandates saying the Pledge of Allegiance everyday in schools K-12. The Pledge of Allegiance is a declaration of allegiance to the flag and to the republic of the United States of America. Every day during the 2nd block announcements, Principal Darius Ballard recites the pledge while students have the choice to say it or opt out. The bill also requires every teacher to have a flag in their classroom. “During a time of such political divide in our nation, I believe the pledge is something that can bring all Americans together, regardless of political affiliation,” said Representative Carter Nordman, who encouraged the Pledge being on the bill.
For teachers, they feel this isn’t something that students even seem to care about in the slightest. “…often it’s just ‘noise’ while they have their earbuds in,” said Carrie Tinkham, a Language Arts teacher at Washington High School. “I do not think it brings students together, and while I believe in our country and patriotism, I think forcing it via a required pledge sends the wrong message.” Tinkham believes that there is a difference in what age the pledge should be required to recite. “My elementary school aged children say it every day… they talk about why they do it, and younger kids are better with following ‘rules’ like this. High schoolers don’t necessarily have the time or resources to do that with 1400+ students, who come from a wider variation of backgrounds.”
For some students this has just become an add on to their daily routine, however some feel that it divides students even more. “If anything, I think it is separating students even more.” said Ashley Adams (‘22)*. “Those who sit have laws protecting their freedom of speech and same goes for those who recite the pledge.” Other students had similar opinions to Adams, “I don’t think the pledge is a big distraction and that’s not why I have problems with it, but it’s the fact that they thought it would ‘bring us together’ through forced patriotism,” said Peter Johnson (‘23). “It just doesn’t make sense to me that we’d somehow be brought together by seeing flags and hearing someone say the Pledge.”
Our nation is in a time of political divide, however is forcing an over 100 year old message really the right way to try and bring people together?