It’s stunning how many public school teachers and administrators have no clue what the law says about the Pledge of Allegiance. In short, no one has to participate and it’s perfectly acceptable if students don’t.
When 14-year-old Fatima M. Smart chose to sit during the Pledge at Monadnock Regional Middle School in Swanzey, New Hampshire this spring, she was unfairly punished for her act of defiance:
Smart, 14, of Swanzey said in an interview last week that to her, saying the Pledge of Allegiance means a person is showing respect for the nation’s government. She doesn’t like the government, and what it has been doing, which is why she has chosen to sit during the pledge, she said.
Once the pledge was over, Fatima said [cooking class teacher Vicki] Mercier told her it wasn’t OK to sit during the salute, that Mercier’s father was in the military, and Fatima’s actions were disrespectful. Mercier continued that if Fatima wanted to sit during the pledge, she should just leave the room, Fatima said.
“Then she told me to leave the classroom, and I sat out in the hallway for awhile,” Fatima said.
The school now says that the teacher was wrong, Smart was right, and that Smart is no longer in Mercier’s class.
What they haven’t said is how Mercier will be disciplined, if she’ll be reprimanded at all, and whether they will do anything to prevent this sort of incident in the future.
I should point out that Smart didn’t help the situation at all by sending a “profanity-laden email to Mercier” about the Pledge problem. Though that’s irrelevant to why she was told to stand up for the Pledge or leave the classroom in the first place.
Mercier hasn’t apologized for embarrassing her student or being ignorant of how the law works.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)