Reciting the Pledge in Lamoille North or Not?

posted Sep 27, 2012, 10:44 AM by News & Citizen   [ updated Oct 4, 2012, 10:22 AM ]

By Mickey Smith

  After a similar motion was defeated twice by the high school board of directors, the entire Lamoille North Supervisory Union (LNSU) Board will be asking the question “should we say the Pledge of Allegiance at our meetings” on Monday night, September 24.

The issue is scheduled to be discussed at about 6:45 on Monday night at the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center.  It has been tabled from an earlier meeting, but since then the motion has been defeated by a vote of 5-3 and 4-3 at the Lamoille Union High School Board meetings.

The LNSU board is comprised of representatives from all of the elementary and high school boards in the district.

Board member David Whitcomb has been campaigning to have the pledge said at the beginning of the meetings. The vote has not been about whether board members are allowed to say it, but rather about whether or not it should be formally placed on the agenda.  At the second vote, about 25 people, many of them veterans, came out in support of saying the pledge.

According to minutes from the high school board meetings, the concerns against saying the pledge have ranged from concerns regarding the “under God” phrase to globalism/nationalism. There was also a concern that saying it too often watered down its meaning.

Also see New's & Citizen's Editorial by J.B. McKinley below: 

Can’t They Compromise?

Things Look This Way to Me  an Editorial by J.B. McKinley

   So, if I haven’t stated it clearly enough, I would vote for the “aye” side on saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the Lamoille Union Board meetings, but I would hope that barring that outcome, the board members were all mature enough to come to a compromise.

They might think of the example that they are setting. I know that a few decades ago when I was in high school, I would definitely have been observing the dissension in the ranks that ruled my life in school. I would have been translating that into action. Before now I would have made a motion in student council  suggesting that it was unfair students were asked to recite it or listen to the Pledge, even over the public address system!  But perhaps today’s students are more mature than their school’s board members, maybe they just figure they will listen to the pledge and quietly take it to heart, or not, as is their privilege. “What’s the big deal?” they may be asking.

Certainly there are more pressing and larger issues in education than whether the school board recites the Pledge of Allegiance. Yes, it is the priniciple of the thing and yes, it is important, but let’s face it – it’s not ILLEGAL not to say the pledge. 

Perhaps the Lamoille Board can agree to say the Pledge at alternating meetings, or some other interval? Wouldn’t that mostly smooth ruffled feathers? Is it really necessary to bring the argument to the people? Does the community really appreciate its elected leaders verbally brawling over 15 seconds of verbiage? I believe the accepted etiquette of saying the pledge along with everyone else or not saying it if you have a problem with it, is sufficient to preserve individual freedom. Must it be either banished totally or recited constantly to be taken to heart as an important symbol for individuals, whether you like it or not?

The way things look to me, if the situation continues as it is going, the entire Lamoille system will end up making differing and divisive rulings about the Pledge – and that will not serve the students well. 

Suddenly the situation seems a bit like national politics, so polarized that nothing can get done.