Maryland School Garners Backlash For Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance
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Maryland School Garners Backlash For Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance

One Maryland public school found itself facing backlash and opposition for having a mandatory Pledge of Allegiance policy. A free speech organization opposed the policy calling it  "mandatory patriotism."

Twin Ridge Elementary School officials in Mount Airy ended up reversing course. They removed a mandatory policy for the patriotic salute. Previously, the school sent out an announcement, "All students and teachers are required 'to stand and face the flag and while standing give an approved salute and recite in unison the pledge of allegiance."

Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression learned about the policy and demanded that the school change it. They cited the First Amendment rights as being infringed upon. The organization insisted that the school allow students and teachers to opt out of the pledge if they wanted to. "The First Amendment protects not only your right to express yourself, but also the right to refrain from doing so. That includes refusing to salute the flag. Mandatory patriotism is no patriotism at all," FIRE Senior Program Officer Stephanie Jablonsky said.

School Reverses Stance On Pledge Of Allegiance

Maryland mother Kathleen Champion also spoke with Fox News. She said that she wasn't surprised to see the policy reversed. However, she doesn't understand the issue.

"I do believe that everybody should stand for the pledge. I do understand that some people have religious beliefs that makes them have a difference from it. And that makes sense. I think that that should be the only exception that there is from it. But I really, honestly don't understand why people have a problem standing and saying the pledge in this country," she said.

"We're American citizens, and we should be proud of that country that we're lucky enough to be in," she continued. The school also sent another email on May 31 to clear things up. They wrote, "Any student or teacher who wishes to be excused from the requirements of subsection (c)(3) of this section shall be excused."

Champion believes there needs to also be a larger conversation around the Pledge.

"I think that one of the big problems is that our students don't really know why they're not standing for the pledge," Champion said, "If the schools just encourage them to do it, I think that they would actually stand. After the whole kneeling for the national anthem, I think that we saw a big decline in people wanting to show respect in so many ways."