School changes policy on standing during Pledge

April 21, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
Students in one local school district do not have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance if they don't want to. It's a policy change that even the superintendent doesn't agree with, so why did the district do it?

In this town of 3,600 people, there's an American flag around just about every street corner and for school kids, the daily routine of standing up and saying the Pledge has never been questioned until now.

"They refused to say the Pledge and everyone's talking about it," said student Cherissh Garrett.

She is a classmate of the two students that have become the talk of Sweeny. The high school seniors did not want to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, something that the school district required.

"There was no disciplinary action taken. It was just a request that they stand for the pledge," said Superintendent Randy Miksch.

The students took their complaint to the The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, who sent the school a request on April 14 to review its policy. This week, after consulting with attorneys, the school district changed its policy and it will no longer require students to stand during the Pledge.

"Just let them sit there and be quiet, and if they don't want to, and everybody who knows what's right will stand up and do it," said Gary Woodard, school board member.

In a statement, the ACLU of Texas says "Our bill of rights and American tradition protect dissenters and the majority just the same, and the right to express disagreement is a patriotic value that all Texans should fight for."

"I might not necessarily agree with that, but I'm going to be legal," said Miksch.

Friends of the students say it's more about teenagers wanting the freedom to choose.

"I don't think he's opposed to the pledge, just that forced to do the pledge, and he just doesn't like it," said student Preston Freeman.

We reached out to the two students, but they did not want to speak on camera.

According to Texas law, students are required each school day to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag and to the Texas flag. The law does not say anything about standing. Students can be excused from saying the pledge, but only with a written request from a parent or guardian.


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