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New School Year, New Pledge of Allegiance?

In just a few short weeks, thousands of kids will head back to school and that begs the question, "Should kids be required to say the Pledge of Allegiance daily?"

New School Year, New Pledge of Allegiance?

When students head back to the classroom in just a few weeks, they'll start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance — a tradition that goes back generations.

In Wisconsin, as is the case with most states, classrooms in public schools are  required to offer the pledge or the National Anthem daily, but students are not required to actually stand up and recite it. Most do, of course, but some students object to the phrase "Under God" and refuse to take part in the daily routine.

Students are required to say the pledge, but should they be? Patch posed the question to users over the last few days and received a flurry of feedback.

Kristy Pittmann wrote on the  Wauwatosa Patch Facebook page, "Yes. My favorite 'cartoon' drawing is in my office. It says 'Steve, you have every right not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, but let me me introduce you to someone who can't because he fought for that right.'"

"Yes," Antonija Mitt wrote. "In a world where troubling stuff happens every day and teachers and friends come and go--this can be one constant in a child's school career. It just takes a minute, is a meaningful ritual and teaches a child a tiny bit of discipline - something that is done every day whether you feel like it or not. It is a good thing."

The issue has surfaced nationally. Earlier this year,  a state lawmaker in Arizona introduced a bill to require students to recite the pledge. Other states, including  Oregon and  Nebraska, have had discussions on whether to require the pledge to be recited in schools.

For three decades, the pledge read as it does today, without the controversial phrase, “Under God.” But in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed for Congress to  add the phrase to combat communist threats, leaving Americans with the 31-words we have today:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

So, should students be required to recite it?

Elizabeth Jablonski says, no. "Saying the pledge of allegiance does not make you any more or less patriotic," she wrote. " Forcing someone to say something just because doesn't instill values. That's what teaching about our history and about our country is for.

"Yes, if they attend a school funded by the U.S. government and taxpayer dollars," Sandra Christopherson wrote. 

Shorewood blogger  Lyle Ruble opened up  this heated discussion of saying the pledge in a blog post that garnered more than 250 comments back in December.

“Only the discussion of abortion gets more emotive attention; but the role of religion in our schools and classrooms has been a sure fire prescription for heated conflict,” Ruble wrote.

And those comments ran the same lines we see eight months later – strong patriotism as well as a desire for separation of church and state. 

“But where does it end? There are so many religions and denominations  At what point does the gov. say, "Enough - there aren't enough hours in the day or room in the yard for all of this," FreeThoughtTroy wrote.

"Let's all pretend that religion does not exist, that is the way to educate our children about tolerance," Patch reader, Greg, commented. "I could walk into any school and find or hear 10 things that I could say offend me. It is time to tell the eternally offended to get bent. Grow up, suck it up and be a good example."

"We cannot deny our heritage that this country was founded by people who mostly believe in a God --- although many Christians are wrong to think that it was founded as a Christian society, as most of the Founders seem to have been Deists. God is a generic word -- and it can have many meanings. The only people who can object to even this generic term would be Atheists, who insist there is No God, in any way, shape or form..." reader David Tatarowicz posted. 

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