When Did Pledge Of Allegiance Stop In Schools?

When Did Pledge Of Allegiance Stop in Schools?

The Pledge of Allegiance, a revered emblem of national loyalty and unity, has long held a prominent place in the hearts and routines of American students.

Yet, the historical landscape of education has seen moments of transformation, with shifts that reflect changing perspectives, cultural evolution, and constitutional considerations.

In this exploration, we delve into the pivotal question: “When did Pledge of Allegiance stop in schools?”

What is the Pledge Of Allegiance?

The Pledge of Allegiance is a solemn oath and declaration of loyalty to the United States of America. It is recited as a patriotic ritual and is often recited at the beginning of school days, public events, and official ceremonies.

The pledge is a way for individuals to express their commitment to the ideals and principles upon which the United States was founded.

The most commonly recited version of the Pledge of Allegiance is: “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 was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and was initially intended to be used as part of celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. Over time, it became a widely recognized symbol of American patriotism and unity.

When Did Pledge Of Allegiance Stop in Schools?

The Pledge of Allegiance did not universally stop in schools; rather, its inclusion and recitation have been subject to various legal cases and debates over the years. One notable instance occurred in the 20th century.

In 1943, during the midst of World War II, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.

In this landmark decision, the Court declared that public schools could not compel students to salute the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance if it conflicted with their religious or personal beliefs.

The ruling was grounded in the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and the individual’s right to express or abstain from certain symbolic acts.

As a result of the Barnette decision, schools across the United States were prohibited from coercing students into participating in the Pledge of Allegiance.

This marked a significant shift in the role of the Pledge in schools, emphasizing the importance of respecting individual freedoms and avoiding compelled patriotism.

However, it’s important to note that while the Barnette decision prohibited forced participation, many schools still choose to include the Pledge of Allegiance as a voluntary expression of patriotism and unity.

The Pledge continues to be recited in many American classrooms as a daily practice, but students cannot be compelled to participate against their will due to the principles established in the Barnette case.

Which States Have Stopped The Recitation Of The Pledge Of Alliance?

Currently, in the United States, 47 states mandate that public schools include the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in their daily routines.

However, students and staff members can typically opt out of reciting the pledge. This was confirmed by a Supreme Court ruling in 1943, which established that it is unconstitutional for any government institution to force someone to recite the pledge or salute the flag.

Despite this ruling, individual states still have the ability to require the pledge while also providing exemptions. The extent of these exemptions varies from state to state. For instance, some states, such as Florida and Texas, only permit students to opt out of the pledge if their parent or legal guardian consents.

To provide a comprehensive view of the laws regarding the Pledge of Allegiance across the United States, here is a complete breakdown of each state’s policies.

States with no policy for the pledge

There is no specific state law regarding the Pledge of Allegiance in Nebraska, but the state school board mandated its recitation in public schools in 2012.

Similarly, there is no statute on the Pledge of Allegiance in Wyoming, Vermont, or Hawaii, but it is typically recited in public schools in these states.

States that require the pledge be recited, with no clear exemptions

Kansas requires the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited but gives oversight responsibility to the state’s Board of Education. The pledge is required in Illinois, New Mexico, and Nevada, with varying exemptions available.

However, in Massachusetts, there is no clear exemption to the Pledge of Allegiance law, and failure to recite it can result in a fine of up to $5 for a teacher. California mandates the pledge but leaves the oversight to school districts. At the same time, Delaware requires the pledge and has previously considered a bill to establish clear exemptions and eliminate penalties for teachers who don’t lead students in the pledge.

States requiring the Pledge to be recited with stricter exemptions.

  • Texas and Florida: require written notice from a parent or guardian for a student to gain an exemption from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Pennsylvania: also requires written notice from a parent or guardian for exemption.
  • Utah:  written notice from a parent or guardian is also required, but schools must inform students of their right to opt out.
  •  Washington: students who choose not to recite the pledge must be silent.
  •  New Jersey: exempt students are expected to show full respect to the flag by standing at attention, with boys removing their headwear, during the pledge.
  •  Virginia: exempt students must be silent during the pledge recitation, and the state code mandates that all students learn about the pledge and demonstrate knowledge of it.
  •  Oregon: exempt students must also remain quiet during the pledge recitation.
  • Tennessee: exempt students must remain silent during the pledge.

States with new laws establishing the Pledge be recited in schools.

Here are the latest updates on the Pledge of Allegiance laws in some U.S. states:

  • Montana, Arkansas, and Alabama passed updated state laws in 2021 requiring recitation but with an explicit exemption.
  • North Dakota passed an updated state law in 2021 allowing schools to authorize voluntary recitation.
  • Iowa passed a state law in 2021 requiring recitation for the first time with an explicit exemption.

States with exemptions but varying interpretations

  • Kentucky: Kentucky state law requires that pupils be reminded that the Lord’s Prayer recited during the morning exercises is what the pilgrim fathers recited when they came to the country for freedom. The exercises are not meant to influence an individual’s personal religious beliefs in any way.
  • Alaska: Alaska requires school districts to inform individuals of their right not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma state law requires schools to post a notice in a conspicuous place to inform individuals that participation in the Pledge of Allegiance is optional.

States with clear exemptions

South Dakota, North Carolina, Mississippi, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, West Virginia, South Carolina, Colorado, Idaho, Wisconsin, Maryland, Maine, and Missouri all require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in public schools but have varying levels of exemptions for those who wish to opt-out.

Some states require written notice from a parent or guardian, while others require students to be respectful and quiet during the recitation. In some states, schools must inform students of their right not to participate; in others, it is left up to the individual school district.

While the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling established that no school or government could compel someone to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag, many states still require it to be recited, albeit with varying exemptions.

Pledge Of Alliance words

The Pledge of Allegiance is as follows:

“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.”

 

FAQs

Did the Pledge of Allegiance ever completely stop in schools?

The Pledge of Allegiance did not universally stop in schools. However, its mandatory recitation was challenged in the 20th century.

In the landmark 1943 case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools could not compel students to salute the flag or recite the Pledge if it conflicted with their religious or personal beliefs.

As a result, forced participation in the Pledge ceased due to the protection of individual freedoms under the First Amendment.

Is the Pledge of Allegiance still recited in schools today?

Yes, the Pledge of Allegiance is still recited in many schools across the United States. However, its recitation is typically voluntary and not coerced. Students have the right to choose whether to participate based on their personal beliefs.

Are there any exceptions to the voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools?

Yes, there can be exceptions based on the legal principles established in the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette case.

Students cannot be compelled to participate in the Pledge if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, personal convictions, or if they choose not to participate for any reason. The protection of free speech and individual liberties ensures that the Pledge remains a voluntary act of patriotism in schools.

Is the Pledge of Allegiance required?

As Americans, we have the freedom of speech to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at our discretion, including never reciting it.

Conclusion

For some, the pledge’s requirement that individuals pledge allegiance to the state feels philosophically wrong.

The compulsion to make such a pledge seems to cheapen the sacrifices made by those who make that decision voluntarily. In effect, compulsory recitation undermines the patriotic values the pledge purports to strengthen.

True unity can only be achieved when people freely come together around shared beliefs rather than being coerced into conformity.

A compulsory pledge of allegiance, therefore, runs counter to the principles of American democracy, and it represents the very tyranny that democracy seeks to prevent.

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