Students exercise first amendment

The+American+flag+waves+high+during+election+day+on+Nov.+8+2016.

Tiger Paw Yearbook

The American flag waves high during election day on Nov. 8 2016.

For years, students have stood for the Pledge of Allegiance. At OHS, students stand and recite the pledge at the beginning of the first day of the week.

Or do they?

Some are not standing and many do not recite the pledge. Are they protesting an event? Are they against the pledge? Is it something much bigger that isn’t noticeable? These are questions that many at OHS would like answered.

Let’s start with the basics. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students are required to stand and recite it daily as of June 22, 2016. Prior to this decision by the DESE, it was a choice by schools whether or not they recited it daily or weekly. Schools to this day continue that tradition of saying it weekly, including OHS and Kirkwood High School. There are also schools that choose to follow and recite the pledge daily, including schools in the Parkway School District.

“The Pledge of Allegiance is something the state of Missouri requires,” said Mrs. Jan Kellerman, principal at OHS. “All schools have to say it at least once a week.”

Students may not even realize it, but the pledge traces all the way back to the late 1800s, when Congress first approved of it. Back then, it wasn’t a requirement to even recite it in schools. Moving into the 20th century, the pledge eventually became more of a tradition in schools, and now, in the 21st century, it’s a requirement to be recited. With it now being a daily requirement in Missouri, there’s an obvious question — are students comfortable saying it daily?

“No, they say the pledge on the intercom everyday, but I personally don’t stand nor say it,” said Parkway West student MJ Stricker (11).

There are still schools that choose to recite the pledge weekly, as per the old law passed in the early 2000s. Schools still following that law may be continuing the weekly tradition only for the sake of in-class time, for the simple fact of not confusing previous year students, or to keep the tradition going, but again are students comfortable?

“I think it’s a good thing we say it once a week,” said OHS student Christian Weber (12). “Not too much, not too little. Enough to remind us of the pledge.”

This year, it appears more students are not standing for the pledge. There could be a list of reasons for this, including protesting in a fashion similar to the National Football League protests, because of their beliefs, or it could simply be they don’t see a point in the pledge.

Though one OHS student does stand, he stated that he “understands why people don’t stand. It’s just a form of peaceful protest to show that they don’t like what’s going on in this country.”

Despite this trend, most OHS students still honor the flag.

“I stand for the pledge,” said Hailey Webb (12) “for many reasons: one is that it’s just what I’ve been shown to do to show appreciation for our country and the people that fight for it. I’m also proud to have the rights and freedoms I do.”