Patriotism in the High School


“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.”

The Pledge of Allegiance, once an unquestioned staple in American schools, is being questioned more and more by the day. With many students choosing to sit for the pledge, and authority having no right to stop them, it is becoming a great controversy in America. 

As of 2021, public schools in all states but California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Wyoming are required to schedule a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. However, on two separate occasions (Goetz v. Ansell in 1973 and Lip v. Morris in 1978), the Supreme Court has ruled that forcing students in public schools to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance is a violation of the 1rst amendment. 

The majority of students in Shaker High School do choose to say the Pledge of Allegiance, with 67% of the student population stating that they do stand for the pledge citing a sense of pride in their country. One student said, “I love my country and I believe it’s the duty of all Americans to support those who protect our rights.” However, some students choose to sit and not say the Pledge of Allegiance, citing religious reasons, inequality in America, and a sense of forced nationalism. One student who chooses to not stand for the pledge of allegiance said that “I don’t stand for the pledge of allegiance because it’s promising, ‘justice and liberty for all’ but we still have not achieved one or the other.” Another student said, they don’t feel that the phrase “one nation under God ” applies much to them, as they are not religious.

Some students were torn on whether or not to say the Pledge of Allegiance or fell somewhere in between the two common answers. One student said “I stand but I don’t say it and I don’t put my hand on my heart” and another “If I am busy in something I don’t [stand for the pledge.]”  And some students were unaware that they had the right to sit: one student said “It has been required since pre-school that I stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.” Many Shaker students said that they stood for the Pledge because they feared their teachers and peers would think less of them. “Sometimes I get weird looks from my peers so I’m forced to stand up, but in reality, I’m stretching.”

Students were also polled on whether or not they think school should state the pledge and the results were 65% of students for yes and 35% for no. Some students felt very strongly that schools should, one saying that “because it is disrespectful to the country and troops that protect our country. Not standing seems like you are taking advantage of the privileges that the government and troops allow us to have”. Some students were rather indifferent to the idea, with another saying “I don’t really care”. Some students raised the issue of students feeling uncomfortable or pressured to stand, “Schools should not make students feel as if they have to do something that is not necessary and makes them uncomfortable”.