It’s easy to forget that there are other reasons to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. In addition to pretending we’re a nation “under God,” some students also refuse to pretend we’re a nation with “liberty and justice for all.”
That’s why Fort Gibson High School (Oklahoma) student Cierra Fields doesn’t stand, and that became a problem earlier this week when her teacher lashed out against her for daring to protest the Pledge:
“After I said I was not going to participate, my teacher raised her voice and said she refused to educate ungodly and unpatriotic students. She was angry and told me that perhaps I needed to take an online course in lieu of the class,” said Fields.
“After I refused to pledge to the flag, my teacher removed me from class by taking me into the hallway in direct view of some of the students. My teacher questioned me and screamed at me about how her father missed a year of her life in Vietnam and how her husband was an Afghanistan war veteran,” Fields said.
That was unnecessary in part because Fields’ own family includes several veterans.
“Not only has my family served in all branches of the military, they served for my right to not pledge and/or stand. I don’t stand or pledge because the flag is an idol and I consider pledging to an object idolatry. As a Native youth, I do not agree that there is liberty and justice for all people.”
The principal of the school gave a different version of the story, saying Fields was never removed from class. He added that students who don’t want to participate in the Pledge are allowed to come to his office during that time — maybe the teacher offering that option was part of the confusion — but that’s also an absurd alternative. He expects students to walk to his office for a 30-second Pledge? Why can’t they just stay in the classroom and remain seated? That’s how it should be done.
In any case, Fields is doing more to teach her classmates about free speech than anything her school is doing by conducting this ritual in blind faith and pressured patriotism. Here’s hoping she continues standing up for people who don’t have true justice by staying seated.
(Image via Shutterstock)