Ban The Pledge

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Monday, September 12, 2011 - 3:40pm

Lawyer wants to ban Pledge of Allegiance in schools; claims its a form of bullying.

A group of people in Brookline, Massachusetts are pushing to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from schools -- stirring some classroom controversy.

In April, the Brookline school committee voted to make the allegiance voluntary, but for some that isn’t enough.

Others wonder what’s wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Brookline lawyer Marty Rosenthal has an answer.

“It goes against tolerance and diversity,” said Rosenthal.

For decades, with hands on hearts, students have recited the pledge in homeroom each morning, but Rosenthal wants to ban the ritual because students can feel pressure.

“We think it’s analogous to bullying. It could promote bullying,” Rosenthal said. “Anything that’s a hot button issue that divides people is susceptible to bullying.”

Rosenthal is gathering signatures for a non-binding referendum.

He said Holocaust survivors told him in the 1980s that they didn’t like the pledge.

“It reminded them of the loyalty oaths in Nazi Germany,” Rosenthal said.

The school committee’s current policy tells principals to give the students an option to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Brookline schools at least once a week.

The students can opt out.

At one elementary school in Brookline parents are saying to keep the pledge.

“I love my country. I’m loyal to my country. I’m loyal to my wife, I pledge to my wife every time I say I love you. Why shouldn’t I pledge to my country?” said one Brookline resident.

“I don’t think you need to do it every day, but I think once a week is fun,” said one woman.

Rosenthal hopes to get the resolution passed at the Brookline town meeting in November.

It is non-binding, so the school committee doesn’t have to do anything about it and probably wouldn’t.

Rosenthal acknowledges getting hate mail, but he said he is as patriotic as anyone sending those messages to him.
 

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