Kevin Moore is an angry parent of students at Hoopeston Area High School in eastern Illinois. In a letter to the editor of the Hoopeston Chronicle, he explained how he complained to the school board about a particular unnamed teacher who did the unthinkable: He didn’t stand and recite the Pledge.
This is apparently a travesty. His boys don’t even have the teacher, but Moore heard the rumors and he wanted the board to take some action.
Over Christmas break, I was shocked to learn from my two sons that there is a teacher at Hoopeston Area High School who refuses to stand and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” at the beginning of the school day. Neither of my sons have ever had instruction from the teacher [in] question but this is apparently a topic among the students at school.
Moore notes that board policy 6.60 requires teachers to fawn over the flag because it states:
In all schools, citizenship values must be taught, including: (a) patriotism, (b) democratic principles of freedom, justice, and equality, (c) proper use and display of the American flag, (d) the Pledge of Allegiance, and (e) the voting process.
That’s seriously the section he cited… which is dumb because Colin Kaepernick has taught more people what real patriotism looks like than some mindless drone on the sidelines who puts his hand over his heart during the Anthem without giving any thought to what the words are saying.
If you understand that we’re not a nation “under God” and you accept that we really don’t have “liberty and justice for all,” then there’s nothing patriotic about reciting the Pledge. You’re lying on behalf of your country. That’s a disservice to everyone. More to the point, you don’t need to recite the words to teach kids about the Pledge of Allegiance. This teacher, by not standing, has arguably done more to teach kids about what they’re actually saying than a teacher who goes through the ritual every day.
I don’t know if the school board said any of that, but the good news is that they weren’t particularly receptive to Moore’s argument that they punish the teacher. They said they had no plans to take action against the staffer.
A pissed-off Moore argued that refusing to recite the Pledge was exactly like coming to work in a bikini top. It was inappropriate and needed to be rectified.
I pointed out to the board that the policy is a condition of employment. It is no different than not allowing teachers to have a beer during their lunch, smoke in the teacher’s lounge, or wear bikini tops and short skirts. Most people who have jobs have conditions of employment. If you want the job, you accept those conditions. If you don’t like the conditions of employment, you have the freedom to go and find a different job whose conditions you can accept. When teachers are on their own time, they have the freedom to act any way the law, a condition of citizenship just like policy is a condition of employment, allows. Notice that the last two sentences emphasize that the teachers/citizens have freedom; freedom paid for by the same soldiers who defend the flag they refuse to pledge allegiance to.
The school board has subsequently indicated to me that they have no intention to take a stand against this policy violation.
Soldiers died to defend the First Amendment; they didn’t die so everyone would blindly pledge loyalty to a country that deserves plenty of criticism.
Good for the board for treating Moore like a disgruntled moron who doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about.
Moore says he’s going to show up at the next board meeting, on February 21, and he’s looking for friends:
If you find this situation as troubling as I do, please join me at the board meeting. Too often, we let the vocal minority determine what happens to our country and to our right as citizens and tax payers to have our values represented.
If anyone lives in that area, please consider going to that meeting and voicing your support for the board. The teacher didn’t do anything wrong and certainly doesn’t deserve to be punished. No conservative mob should pressure the board to think otherwise.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)