Earlier this week, I posted about three student body leaders at South Portland High School in Maine. They had caused some controversy because, while reading the morning announcements and leading the Pledge of Allegiance, they reminded their classmates that they didn’t have to participate:
Student Body President Lily SanGiovanni and fellow senior Gaby Ferrell discovered under Maine law it is optional if a student wants to recite the pledge. SanGiovanni began adding “if you’d like to” before she led the school’s pledge.
“We are not doing this because we hate America or anything. We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn’t,” explained SanGiovanni.
It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do… but the principal put a stop to it. Now it’s up to the school board to decide the fate of the four words.
In an update, the Portland Press Herald‘s Kelley Bouchard writes about how the students aren’t giving up. In fact, they’ve gotten a lot of support over the past several days:
“It’s been crazy,” [Morrigan] Turner said Wednesday. “We knew it was a sensitive topic. We knew there would be a reaction. But it has been amazing.”
Fueled by what they see as a largely positive response to their story, the girls now hope to reach an accord with faculty leaders. They plan to demonstrate more clearly how students may have been harmed by being compelled to say the pledge in the past. They also plan to present examples of student and community support.
The girls haven’t worked out the exact language of the proposal they plan to make on March 19. Whatever the outcome, they say the experience so far has been worth it.
“It’s been an eye-opening journey,” SanGiovanni said. “I don’t regret any of it. A conversation has been sparked. I’m looking forward to seeing if more students follow our lead.”
I hope they do. How much better would our schools be if more students were like these young women?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)