Should Students Have to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?


Do you recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day? Why? Why not?

Cameron Daniels, Staff Writer

In 45 states in the United States of America, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is mandatory by law. California is not among them. Although in almost every school within the State the Pledge is still announced during morning announcements. You’ll come to find within time being here that almost no one besides teachers stands for the Pledge. Why is that so?

According to Nordic News, only 17.2% of 157 students surveyed on whether they stand for the Pledge or not, answered they do. 52% of students who responded, stated that they don’t stand. Their reason? They claimed it was because of problematic issues behind the flag. 

Stated by the WLHS Paw Print, the most prevalent reasoning behind students not standing for the flag is disliking certain issues in America such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Not standing during the Pledge seems to be an effective, yet silent protest. 

Multiple teachers on campus were asked two questions, some unknowingly answering the second question before they were asked. First, do you think students should have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance? Second, do you think students should stand for the pledge? The questions are subtly different, and the answers were extremely varied between staff.

The first question asked of each teacher was if they believe the Pledge of Allegiance should be mandatory for students, if the students should have to stand and recite the Pledge under any available circumstance. Mr. Nakyama was the first teacher I spoke with. He had also given one of the shortest and most inclusive answers. He said, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t want to elaborate why, but no I don’t feel like they should be forced to do it.” 

Kaidyn King, a student who happened to be in the class at the same time, said strongly, “I don’t think that they should be forced to stand for the pledge. If they believe they want to; if they’re comfortable then, yeah, but they shouldn’t get in trouble for not wanting to do so.” 

The First Amendment is the most expressed right that is used to support or oppose standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. An anonymous staff respondent stated, “Okay so here’s my answer, it’s kinda answering it in a roundabout way. I don’t think the pledge should be (recited) everyday because people just tune it out. So the answer is yes, but it should mean something… maybe like once a week, ugh, that’s a hard one.” 

They continued, attempting to gather their words together. “Okay that’s my answer, my answer is yes, however, we shouldn’t do it everyday.” This was one of the only responses that had an answer that introduced a separate system for schools to follow. An idea to change the traditional way of doing anything is easy to be frowned upon, especially when put into a report for the masses.

Mr. Likens, an Army veteran, flatly stated, “Yes” at first, then explained, “Well, have to? No. Should they? Yes.” 

He continued, “This is a free country. I can’t force you to do anything, except join the Army,” he said jokingly. “But, no, I can’t force them to do it. I’d like them to, but I haven’t seen anybody do it.” After this, Mr. Likens clarified that “anybody” meant students at Gilbert and students at the schools he’s taught at in the past as well. He also provided a more in-depth analysis of the symbolism of standing for the pledge, saying, “If people don’t like being here I tell ‘em, leave…they give you stuff here. They should stand up for the pledge, but they shouldn’t be forced to do it.”

Multiple other teachers on the campus, some far more supportive of the flag than Mr. Likens,  chose not to have their responses publicly displayed, even if anonymous.

The Pledge of Allegiance is a salute to a flag that seems to have separate meanings for every individual. No two individuals would support a flag that they believe stands for the same morals, but disagree with each other. The choice to stand for the flag should not be condemned or revoked, but neither should the right to stand against it. Anyone who stands for the flag believes in the first amendment, our freedom of speech, the foundation of this country, and all should stand by that.