by Kirsten Petersen
It’s been a part of your child’s morning routine for years, beginning as early as kindergarten. Your son or daughter wakes up, gets dressed, eats breakfast and heads off to school. And not long after they sit down at their desks, your child and his peers rise again — this time, to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
In Maryland, each county Board of Education and Baltimore City Public Schools requires all students and teachers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, as mandated by the Maryland General Assembly. Specifically, they must “stand and face the flag and while standing give an approved salute and recite in unison the pledge of allegiance,” according to the Code of Public General Laws of Maryland.
Students and teachers must recite the traditional text of the pledge, which includes the words “under God,” according to the Code.
However, the Code states that any teacher or student who does not wish to stand or recite the Pledge will be excused from doing so.
In Carroll County, the same rule applies. According to a religion fact sheet released by Carroll County Public Schools, students and teachers are required to start their day with the Pledge of Allegiance but they can be excused, "provided that they do not cause a disruption during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. If a teacher opts out, the Pledge of Allegiance would, nonetheless, be recited in that teacher’s classroom."
In Baltimore City, students are encouraged to recite the Pledge because it helps students “learn and reinforce patriotism.” However, the Baltimore City Public School’s Patriotic Exercises Policy explicitly states that “no student or staff member will be compelled to participate in patriotic exercises, nor will any student be penalized or ostracized for failure to participate.”
With a new school year beginning in Carroll County, Patch wants to hear from you.
Do you think children should be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school? What do you think of the state’s exception for those who do not want to say the Pledge?
In April, a Damascus High School student who disagreed with United States government policies towards Puerto Rico — her native country — was harassed for choosing not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
If you support the requirement to say the Pledge, do you believe there is ever an exception to the rule, such as disagreement with government policies?
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