New system implements daily patriotism

An+announcement+commences+daily+during+3rd+period+to+guide+students+and+faculty+in+reciting+the+pledges+and+participating+in+a+moment+of+silence.
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New system implements daily patriotism

An announcement commences daily during 3rd period to guide students and faculty in reciting the pledges and participating in a moment of silence.

An announcement commences daily during 3rd period to guide students and faculty in reciting the pledges and participating in a moment of silence.

Grace Nguyen

An announcement commences daily during 3rd period to guide students and faculty in reciting the pledges and participating in a moment of silence.

Grace Nguyen

Grace Nguyen

An announcement commences daily during 3rd period to guide students and faculty in reciting the pledges and participating in a moment of silence.

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The crackle of the intercom comes interrupts the beginning of 3rd period as the recorded voice of Willow Springs Middle School Principal Kent Messer guides students and faculty members to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the Texas state law, students are required to recite the pledge in school every day unless a parent or guardian instructs otherwise. It’s the same law that requires the American and Texas flag to be prominently displayed in classrooms at all times. The law hasn’t changed, but the way the school responds to it has.

In addition to from the Pledge of Allegiance, state law also requires students to recite the Texas Pledge and participate in a moment of silence (to commemorate 9/11) as well. For the past few years, the pledges were distributed to all teachers to be played during fourth period.

“The shift we’ve gone through this year was really because the challenge the teachers had during 4th period,” principal Chris Mayfield said. “We [did] it at that time because it’s a longer class period. Well, some kids are at A lunch, some at B, some at C. [The board] recognize[d] for standardization and consistency, it’s better if we do it for everyone during third period.”

In addition to from the Pledge of Allegiance, state law also requires students to recite the Texas Pledge and participate in a moment of silence (to commemorate 9/11) as well.  

“I think the pledge of allegiance is a necessary thing in a civilized nation,” junior Zach Farrell said. “If you don’t have people pledging basic allegiance to their country, then you just have ragtag loyalties.”

However, not all students believe the pledge should be mandatory.

“Forcing people to say the pledge just seems like an empty gesture to me than anything else,” senior Jordan Grebe said. “The government can’t control what we can and can’t say. I think that would also mean they can’t force us to say anything at all.”

At Windfern High School, just outside of Houston, 18-year-old India Landry will be going to court in 2019 for participating in silent protest during the pledge at her school. Instead of rising and reciting the pledge like her classmates, she chose to remain seated and silent. This led to her being expelled from her high school.

She argued that her actions reflected her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The Landry case received recognition when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton intervened on the school’s behalf, stating that “schoolchildren cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the pledge.”              

According to Paxton, the Pledge is meant to foster “respect for our flag and patriotic love of our country.”

“I think the pledge of allegiance is an important part of American culture. It’s important that we do it because it’s part of honoring those who have died for our country,” sophomore Gage Harrison said. “While, I’m against kneeling or not standing for the pledge of allegiance, I also understand that because of our First Amendment. Even if I dislike it, it’s not in my right to decide what people do and what their political opinions are.”

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