Time to Say the Pledge?


Every Monday and Friday the ODA community on both campuses convenes in one room, and stands together with their hands on their heart, pledging allegiance to the flag of this country.

According to the website ProCon.org, 43 states have laws related to saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. In Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey students are actually required to recite the pledge. Out of those 43, in only 17, including Florida, the students have an option to recite the Pledge. The other 36 states require the reciting of the plesge

The 118-year-old pledge is constantly a subject of arguments, fights, and is sometimes even taken to court. Some people have a problem pledging allegiance to the US, especially if it is not their home country. Some are uncomfortable with saying “under God” in the Pledge. And some find it strange to pledge allegiance to a flag.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida claims that making students stand and pledge is a violation of of the First Amendment – the right of free speech. Several states require the schools to make the Pledge, whereas some only encourage it.

Although ODA does not require it, some students say that they feel pressured to say the Pledge.

Students and faculty have differing opinions on reciting the pledge.

A freshman who prefers to remain anonymous says:

“It is a waste of time, and it is outdated, and it has been around for one hundred and eighteen years? That is really outdated!”

He also says that the words themselves are propaganda. He does not think that it should be banned, as some level of patriotism is needed in a country, but the requirement laws should be lifted. Although he does not like doing so, he says the pledge every time. “If I didn’t say it, people would nag me for it.”

The pool of opinion varies greatly concerning the pledge in our community. Sophomore Matthew Jones says that being raised in a patriotic and conservative part of the country, he feels strongly saying the Pledge.

“A house divided cannot stand,” says Jones quoting President Abraham Lincoln. In his opinion, the pledge evokes a sense of patriotism needed for the school, and even the country to stand together.

“When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I have to admit that I do it mostly not to look awkward, but I feel strongly about the words and the American cause for freedom. US citizens don’t appreciate the freedoms that they are given enough sometimes, and the Pledge helps remember the liberty that our forefathers gave to us. My great grandfather fought in France against the Nazis, and my other relatives fought in the Civil War and Revolutionary War. And if there is a conflict that would threaten American freedoms I would gladly participate in it as well,” continues Matt.

“As an independent school we do not need to say the pledge, but we make a choice to. We as a country have our tendencies and flaws, we have our democracies, tolerances, and when we congregate as a community, why wouldn’t we congregate to make an appreciation to those ideals? Whether it is at a baseball game, a swim meet, or an assembly in the morning, we are acknowledging what it means to be American and are embracing those founding thoughts,” says Upper School Division Head, Noel Dougherty.

There are many foreigners in the ODA community who are expected to stand up out of respect during the speech, but there is a range of reaction to this tradition.

“Out of respect for the process and the privilege of being in this country and in this school, they stand up to face the flag, but you wont see them reciting the pledge. I would expect them to stand up and pay respects to the flag out of respect, but nobody is coerced into pledging allegiance [to the flag].”

Next time you stand and say the pledge, think of what it means to you and why you do it. Where do you stand?