Last month, a classroom full of seventh graders at El Camino Real Academy in New Mexico staged a mass protest against the Pledge of Allegiance. The 20 students remained seated when it came time for the morning ritual — and most of them have kept seated ever since.
The reason? They felt the Pledge no longer “spoke to them,” and they wanted to join in on a social media campaign to remain silent instead of saying it.
“It’s a good pledge,” one of the students told her. “But we’re not living it in America.”
That makes sense. We don’t really have “liberty and justice for all” in this country — certainly not with the Republicans currently in charge threatening to build a wall to keep out Mexicans and instituting a(nother) travel ban to prevent other shades of brown people from coming into the country.
The students’ protest was soon joined by the three other seventh grade classes… which you know had to upset some of the adults in the school. But understanding that the kids had every right to sit out during the Pledge, one teacher did something rather unusual.
She helped the students craft a new Pledge, one that reflected their beliefs.
“It was that moment of engagement that every teacher wants,” [Galen Blum] said.
She began guiding her students through the Pledge of Allegiance, line by line, to explain its meaning and, in turn, learn how they interpret it.
The result was this wonderful replacement for an outdated ritual:
I pledge for all those immigrants that came here for a dream and for all of those kids that want to have a better future and career.
I want all the people treated [equally] and with respect.
All immigrants are America.
And come for a dream of a better life.
That’s a Pledge the students are happy to recite every morning. And they’ll keep saying it even if there’s backlash. As one student told a reporter, “I have to stand up for what I believe, no matter what.” It’s the America they want to see, not the America in the Pledge that doesn’t exist.
Incidentally, the kids didn’t have a problem with the “Under God” phrasing, but it was left out of their revised Pledge.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)