In Minnesota, three eighth graders have been suspended for sitting during the pledge of allegiance. The principal of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Junior High School states that, while they are not constitutionally required to recite the pledge, they must still stand for the pledge. It is difficult to see how students are protected from pledging but must give the outward appearance of approving or respecting the pledge and flag.
The handbook requires standing and Mel Olson, the district’s community education director, says the students got what they deserved: “These three [students] didn’t, and they got caught . . . being a veteran and a United States of America citizen, absolutely.” Olson is a former Marine from World War II.
As much as I respect Olson’s service, I would suggest that he was fighting for the very liberties that these students are asserting in the case. Free speech and free exercise are the touchstones of the American system, not forced compliance and conformity.
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