Students at the Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway, Calif. were reminded by their principal that they were not required to participate in the pledge of allegiance. (source).
Initially, the principal would say “Please stand for the pledge of allegiance.” However, the parents of an unnamed student complained — informing the school that when the principal gives directions like that, students feel compelled to obey. Therefore, the school changed the direction to this:
For those who wish to participate to please stand, others please stand or sit quietly.
Naturally, this provoked a freak-out from the “I wear cowboy hats, and not to be funny” crowd.
School administrators said they have worked out a compromise. The principal will now say “It is time for the Pledge of Allegiance, those of you who wish to participate, please stand, ready, begin.” (source).
I think that the Poway school district should be commended. When “patriotism” and “right and wrong” hinge on whether we all stand, zombie-like, and recite a meaningless ode to a piece of cloth, then we have forgotten what the idea of America really was.
I, for one, will be instructing my children that they will neither stand, nor recite, the pledge unless “under god” is taken back out of it. Even then, I don’t want my kids pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth. You pledge allegiance to a person, a group, or an idea. Fetishizing a piece of cloth is for uneducated zombies.