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Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Student campaigns to restore Pledge of Allegiance

For the first time in 40 years, high-school students in Arlington, Mass., are able to recite, in a school environment, those familiar words: "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 opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance is the result of the work of Arlington High School senior Sean Harrington, who spent three years trying to get his town's school
committee to restore the pledge at the start of each school day.
Harrington says he had a good reason for taking on the project.
"I knew it was the right thing to do. I'm very patriotic, and I come from a patriotic family. I've always been taught to love my country, and I feel that it's a no-brainer. It's just common sense to
have the pledge at a school, and a public school no less," Harrington
observed.

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The senior adds that the pledge means more to him than a simple phrase.
"The pledge always will be an allegiance not just to the flag but 'To the Republic for which it stands.' I think people don't realize that, and it's important that we pledge allegiance to that every day," Harrington
explained.
Reports say the campaign took several years to accomplish.
"I first went to my principal and he said, 'Well, you have to get students to support it.' Well, what I did was I got a petition to be signed by people in the town and students and all sorts of other
people. I wasn't sure if he would support it," Harrington explained.



Harrington also says that the past several months included some time before the town's school committee.
"I went to the school committee because I found out another school wasn't saying the pledge, from what I found out. I went to them, and I've only gone before them on the agenda twice," Harrington said.
"Also at my school, at Arlington High, there were flags missing in classrooms, so I went to them for that. The first time I went it was just for Arlington High," Harrington said.
Harrington remembers that the school committee talked about the state law that requires each classroom to have a flag displayed.
Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 71, section 69 states that all classrooms should have a flag, and teachers should lead th...
"Section 69. The school committee shall provide for each school house under its control, which is not otherwise supplied, flags of the United States of silk or bunting not less than two feet long, such flags
or bunting to be manufactured in the United States, and suitable
apparatus for their display as hereinafter provided," the law states.
"A flag shall be displayed, weather permitting, on the school building or grounds on every school day and on every legal holiday or day proclaimed by the governor or the president of the United States for
especial observance; provided, that on stormy school days, it shall be
displayed inside the building," the law continues.
"A flag shall be displayed in each assembly hall or other room in each such schoolhouse where the opening exercises on each school day are held. Each teacher at the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools shall lead
the class in a group recitation of the 'Pledge of Allegiance to the
Flag.' A flag shall be displayed in each classroom in each such
schoolhouse," the law reads.
The law also states that each teacher who doesn't lead the class in the pledge should be fined $5 each day.
Harrington points out that the law clearly states that not only should each classroom have a flag but that a teacher should lead the class in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The school committee, however, was told by the town counsel that it was not legal for teachers to lead their classes in the pledge, Harrington said.
"But the flag part was, so they voted on the flag part, and they didn't vote on the pledge part at all," he explained.
The Arlington High School senior says that his mission required a second visit.

"The second time I went was right before the 4th of July, and when I went for the pledge, it was a tie vote. The motion made was that the pledge would be led by a volunteer to the students, in either the
form of a volunteer or a tape recording to be played on the PA system,"
Harrington explained.
"It was a tie vote on that, but then after the story hit the news, near the beginning of the school year, the vote was unanimous," he said.
Boston area talk show host Jeff Katz believes saying the pledge is a controversial issue because many Massachusetts educators have the wrong idea about patriotism.
"Unfortunately I think there are a lot of people, and especially in Massachusetts, who have a very skewed idea of what the Pledge of Allegiance is about. We were told that teachers and administrators said the Pledge of Allegiance was un-American. That it was un-American to talk about your love for the country, and it was un-American to talk about one nation under God,"
Katz explained.
"I think for a lot of the uber-left, politically correct crowd, it embodies everything that they detest. They detest the idea that we're God's creation. They detest the idea that this nation has been blessed
by God. They detest the idea that there are very brave men and women who
have been willing to lay everything on the line and make the ultimate
sacrifice for us," Katz continued.
Katz says it's also hard to believe that with the law written as it is, there should even be a problem like the one in Arlington.
"I just couldn't believe that this was going on, though we started getting a lot of calls from parents who said that Arlington isn't the only place where this is going on," Katz stated.
Katz is hopeful that adults around the state and nation will help future Sean Harringtons.
However, Sean Harrington believes there is more to this whole issue than just saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I feel it's a sad day in our country that a person on the school committee would even say, 'I don't think we can find teachers to say the pledge,' which is what one of them said. It's revolting that they
would even believe that they couldn't find one teacher who would say the Pledge of Allegiance," Harrington stated.
"Once we as Americans stop realizing what the pledge says, which is quite frankly, it is a statement for our duties and obligations as Americans. Once we start thinking it means nothing, then I think it
becomes a question of what has happened to our country," he observed.
Harrington hopes his work will help other high school students around the country.
"I'm hopeful that my work will keep other students from having to go through the same thing I did so we could show our love for our country," Harrington said.



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