Someone please explain to me the logic behind this: Boston.com—ACLU concerned with school policy reporting students who don’t stand for pledge.
BELLINGHAM, Mass. (AP) Civil libertarians are admonishing a school for telling parents when their children don’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
‘‘It seems to me a form of harassment,’’ Ron Madnick, director of the Worcester chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Wednesday.
Madnick said some students at Bellingham High School have been taken out of class and sent to the principal’s office for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance as a way of protesting the war in Iraq. He sent a letter to superintendent T.C. Mattocks on Wednesday and is waiting for a response.
Mattocks said students were not called out of class, but acknowledged that school officials notify parents of students who don’t stand for the pledge.
Refusing to stand during the ceremony does not violate a school rule, Mattocks said. But he said students are expected to stand and to also obey a moment of silence every morning.
‘‘They are not disciplined for not standing,’’ Mattocks said. ‘‘But it’s the school’s responsibility to communicate with parents about a student’s behavior.’’
So let me get this straight in my head: A) Students are expected to stand for the Pledge and obey a “moment of silence,” but it’s not a violation of any particular school rule if they don’t. B) School officials are calling parents and telling them that their kids aren’t standing for the Pledge even though the kids are not doing anything wrong by not doing so and aren’t going to be disciplined.
What’s the point in calling the parents?
I am, of course, being facetious. The point is the school knows they can’t legally punish a student for not participating in the Pledge of Allegiance or even for not observing the moment of silence so they’re hoping the parents will do it for them. Or at least that the threat of phoning the student’s parents will be enough pressure to get the kids to conform.
That’s the problem I have with these school led attempts at “encouraging” patriotism through activities such as leading the kids in the Pledge. A lot of lip-service is paid to the idea that the kids aren’t being forced to participate if they don’t want to, but then you end up with schools like this one near Boston that attempt to pressure kids into participating against their will by using the threat of telling their parents if they don’t. It’s bad enough that the kids are probably going to catch some flak from their fellow students for not conforming to the majority view let alone to have the school administrators adding pressure when the kids have done nothing wrong. Sure, you’ve got a choice on whether or not to participate, as long as you do participate otherwise we’ll do everything we can to apply pressure and humiliate you until you decide to conform like a good little robot.