Massachusetts school reporting kids who don’t stand for Pledge.

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.

10 thoughts on “Massachusetts school reporting kids who don’t stand for Pledge.

  1. Sounds pretty typical.  Someone at another blog said that the problem with this prowar stuff is that the powers that be don’t have what she calls a “positioning statement”.  I think we do have one and it’s the ultimate meaning that Joseph Heller imparts to the phrase Catch 22:  Catch 22 means they can do anything that we can’t stop them from doing.

  2. My charitable donations to the ACLU have never been higher than during the last three years under Bush. Of course the schools crave conformity, they have to pump out as many little robots as they can today to work in the factories and cubicles of tomorrow. If they cant push religion or even patriotism in class then they can do their best to enlist the parents help. If their father’s were anything like mine all it will take is one warning of “if I get one more letter from your school for any reason, you wont be able to sit for a month” and I would have been standing the next day.

    Most kids will do just about anything to either 1) please their parents or 2) avoid getting beaten and the schools count on that.

  3. If any teacher dared call me to try and shop in my kid for standing up what he/she believes in they’d certainly be getting a good old fashioned tongue lashing from me.  I’d definitely take after my own mother in that regard, who loved nothing more than to give some of my idiot teachers a piece of her mind (and threaten them with talking to the media I might add – she was quite savvy)

  4. My initial feeling is to agree.  However, maybe we need to push the pledge in school – to take it back from the facist corporate media (such as Clear Channel) that pumps it 12 times a day.
    Oiling the robots for the cubicle…I have to agree with that. But why are people having children anymore anyway?  They’re fate is determined.  Even if you raise your own correctly, the overwhelming majority will have been raised by the machine or not at all.  ADOPT!!!

  5. There is no logic behind this. It’s ruling through fear, rather than leading by example.

    Which is my primary reason for voting the current administration out-oUT-OUT!!! come November. Bush and co. aren’t attempting to lead the people by example. They’re attempting to rule by fear: making us all afraid of the phantoms in the dark, the other nations of the world, and of each other.

    That really pisses me off. There’s enough legitimate reasons for me to be afraid: yabbo drivers on the interstate (Hwy 17 is a bloodthirsty stretch of road), my business not succeeding, my epilepsy rising up and slamming me down.

    ( Does anyone else realise that they’re using the same psychological tactics that Saddam Hussein was using? They’re just not using threats of physical violence, which mightn’t work as well on Americans. They’re using fear of loss of privilege, a more abstract concept that works just as well yet doesn’t intimidate the general populace as much. )

  6. I’m glad to read that many U.S. citizens are not going to conform with more control and conformity in the school system. In just a year, in a moment of opening and closing my eyes I woke up to a different United States that I had known for many years. As a Spanish language teacher applying for full-time jobs in the area of bilingual education I was quite shocked by such a sudden loss of civil liberties. The first shock was to find out the teachers could be fined for not wanting to lead the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the school day. To also find out that most teaching of history would focus on patriotism and emphasize a pro-war mentality amongst children. I was also quite shocked that “progressive administrators” are suddenly complying with the allegiance to the point of calling parents of those students who refuse to pledge the allegiance. My experience in talking to people before proposition 2 was passed, is that people did not have a clear understanding about this referendum. It was twisted in the way that it was framed as “Teaching English for children”… those who come up with the idea certainly new which public sentiment they were manipulating. Read carefully this new law that sets the public school education further back in the progress of civil liberties and freedom of speech in the school system. A teacher can now be fined for using the student’s native tongue to teach. If the administrator offers a waiver to a family that requests a two-way bilingual program as a mode of education for their children, this family has the right to sue the school if they did not receive the “adequate education”… In one year, the voters of Massachusetts seem to be misinformed of the long-term cost of the current decisions in terms of protecting the civil rights of immigrants.  In addition, to be educating children to take a one-sided view of history and teach love for country through compulsory actions.
    Those of us who have lived under dictatorships and
    review history objectively, are aware of how passivity allows for others above to make decisions for the “common good”. Lets help our children to think and show no fear of expressing our freedoms according to the first amendment of the United States constitution. My hope is that parents, teachers and students will organize to fight back for the progress achieved since the civil rights act of 1968 and the hard work of Chinese Americans who implemented the Lao law protecting the rights of English as a second language speakesrs. Most of us come from a history of immigration and could learn from the rich cultures and languages that have populated our earth. The political events experienced now date back to the 18OO’s fear and disgust towards non-English speakers and Reagans attempt to enforce the “English only movement”… Bush is taking us in that direction…. to be fearful of our neighbors, to use a preventive war mode instead of diplomacy and negotiation, to create patriotic robots of our children and to ask questions but never receive answers as to why the United States needed to invade Afghanistan and Iraq… To protect our lawns and decorate our houses with flags as though this may bring us safety against this “anonymous enemy”, that is to instill FEAR, FEAR of those of us who may have a different color, a different language or a different culture than the language spoken by current administration.

  7. Hey I agree this is ridiculous. But i have to say i’m from Mass. and by and large most schools don’t do this. In the city most don’t even bother with the pledge of allegiance. Its when you go out to the secluded areas of Mass where you get the stupidity of the masses. Like Bellingham. (THis is harsh on some level i relize but i really don’t care i love my state but i also love to make fun of it) And when you go south to say attleboro or mansfield to places that apparently count as cities to someone even thought they are secluded as anything you get stupid shit like this. In Boston, Malden, Everett and the rest of the inner city schools you get taught the pledge you say it in history class you have a moment of silence on 9/11( which is only a big deal out there cuz the planes left from logan, thats really bad but its true ask the kids and they’ll tell you the same thing) and thats it.

  8. I agree. I no longer stand anymore but my teacher has been yelling and scolding me and my friend. She doesn’t stand for the moment of silence but I don’t stand for anything. Plus kids mock us and are rude to us all the time. I find the “ceremony” to be stupid and a waste of time. Plus it’s a way to get prayer in schools. So being a Wiccan I do my own prayers during their “Moment of Reflection/Silence”. Hah. Well Kudos to you for bringing this up!

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