“What you describe is a clear violation of your First Amendment rights. However, since you are a minor, I need the permission of one of your parents before I can contact the school about this matter. Have one or your parents call me if they are supportive of your position in this matter. If they are not supportive of your position, let me know that as well.” –
Chief Counsel & Legal Director
ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri
This letter was sent to a Wichita eighth grader who has been repeatedly isolated from other students for his polite refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The student, Alex, is protected by a Supreme Court decision dating back to 1943 that clearly states no one can be forced to participate in the pledge, regardless of age.
Alex is a member of the Occupy movement, as is his mother. When asked why he refuses to stand for the Pledge, Alex said:
“I dislike and distrust the way nationalism is fed to us (us being us children of course) it seems to separate us and causes a lot more hate than love. I don’t think that no one should say the pledge, Just not kids who are to young to understand the full extent of what it means. Kids my age are old enough to grasp the meaning of it but its natural tendency to say the pledge every morning I know that I even said the pledge when i was in kindergarten. And I understand that schools want everyone to conform to their standards and saying the pledge is a standard, But to suppress any deviation from the norm in such a manner as they have done to me is uncalled for and unjust.”
More details to follow…