September 9, 2011

The Pledge of Allegiance

There is a Facebook thing (and also an email-forward thing) going around the bugs the crap out of me, and I know I need to be MUCH more specific than that. It's the one that talks in all-caps about how schools no longer have children say the pledge of allegiance. This is reportedly because schools are SCARED of OFFENDING someone. And you're supposed to REPOST IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT OFFENDING SOMEONE.

LEAVING ASIDE the issue of whether this would be SUCH AN OUTRAGE, or whether the cause could be correctly diagnosed as "fear," or whether it's good or bad to care about offending people, there is a problem: at my kids' schools, they DO still say the pledge of allegiance. They say it every single morning. And on Parents' Night, they had the parents say it, too---complete with the non-original "under God" part, for those of us worried that the rule about separation of church and state is being enforced.

So I think of this silly repost/forward as being nothing but fear-mongering: let's drum up an INDIGNANT MOB over something that HASN'T EVEN HAPPENED. So many Facebook things and email forwards ARE like this: they state something HORRIBLE, and no one re-posting/forwarding it checks first to see if it's, you know, TRUE.

But I DO check. And just because MY kids' school still says the pledge of allegiance each morning doesn't mean EVERYONE'S does, or even that MOST schools do. Ours could be a fluke. And so I would like to take a little poll if you wouldn't mind. Over to the right, if your kids go to public school in the U.S., please tell me if your school system DOES or DOES NOT still say the pledge of allegiance. (It doesn't have to be daily.) And if your child's school DOESN'T say it, could you leave a comment about what the deal is (like, is it CARING ABOUT OFFENDING SOMEONE, or is it some other explanation), so that we can figure out the source of this rumor? (And so we make sure they aren't false-no votes, like when the school is not in the U.S., or when it's a private anarchist academy.) [Poll closed; see results below.]

84 comments:

Nicole said...

Well, no. But my kids are in Canada so....

But on the topic of facebook, this is the thing. I hate those "re-post if you agree!" Yeah, I fucking agree, but I'm not putting the world's most boring status as my status. You know? I guess I'm that "97% will not re-post". Listen people, just because I don't repost doesn't mean that I am "for" cancer or "for" autism or "for" fucking penguins pecking my eyeballs out. Okay? STOP WITH THE REPOSTING.

Okay, thank you Swistle for letting me get THAT off my chest. Phew. Much better now.

Linda said...

My kids report that our school has them say the pledge & sing the national anthem at assemblies and every Friday.

saly said...

The outrage that I usually see is not that they don't say the pledge, but that they omit the words "under God". My kids say the pledge and they say the "under God" part in their public school and I tell everyone who posts that dumb ass post if you agree nonsense.

Melissa said...

I laughed at this and at Nicole's comment. But is it really the whole Pledge that is going, or the "under God" part that schools are taking out? My kids are only in preschool so I don't know this yet!

cakeburnette said...

Every school my kids have gone to (2 different elem; one middle) have started the day with it. I don't think my son's high school does, but that's because they don't have a homeroom period.

Swistle said...

The one I'm looking at says it's the whole pledge, but I've seen the just-the-under-god one too. That one is ESPECIALLY silly since the "under god" part was added WAY after the pledge was written, so taking it out would only be returning it to the original version.

Colleen said...

Zoe says they say the pledge every day.

I just wanna add... I love Nicole. Can we just all repost her comment?

Sarah said...

Well, we homeschool and don't routinely say The Pledge.

My son's Boy Scout Troop says it, though, so after his first meeting when they all said it together I had to run through it a couple of times with him at home because he was "totally confused", according to my husband.

And I wonder who "they" are worried about offending? Non-Americans attending public schools? Or is it an "one nation, under God" issue? In any case, with the education issues facing our country I have to think of this as a bit of a red herring. I mean, if this is the biggest problem with your school, fall on your face and thank your lucky stars.

chrissy said...

I can't stand those re-post if you agree statuses almost as much as I hate those 'forward to 3 friends so God will bless you' e-mails. I look at it as a way of determining which of my FB friends are idiots. Although I probably already suspected as much.

M&Co. said...

My son's school does, but he goes to a small private school. I think they also start the day with a prayer.

Robyn said...

I cannot STAND FB reposts and email forwards...drives me nuts. Do you know that the one you're talking about has actually been changed to "I pledge allegiance to the flag of Australia...etc" and reposted despite the fact that we (I'm Australian) have an oath of allegiance that doesn't read like that and also has never been done every morning in schools. Its beyond ridiculous that people just seem to blindly repost without engaging their brains.

Swistle said...

Good points, Nicole and Sarah! I changed it so it specifically mentions U.S. public schools! I hope that "no" vote doesn't throw the whole thing off!

Mama Bub said...

I'm really looking forward to your Facebook rebuttal that says 97% of the people I polled said that they DO said the Pledge in their schools, SO THERE.

Amy said...

They say the pledge at my daughter's school every morning, including "under God" and have a moment of silent reflection.

Katherine said...

My child's public (in an ultra liberal neighborhood) says it, but only on Mondays. Does that mean the terrorists have won?

jen said...

not a parent but was a student teacher in nyc schools. i've been to about five and haven't seen the pledge done!

agirlandaboy said...

We always said the pledge back in the day, although by "we" I mean everyone in my class except me. My little 9-year-old atheist self thought "under God" was way out of place in public school (you think about religion a lot when you grow up in Mormon country), and it was crazy how many teachers told me I HAD to say it or I was being disrespectful to everyone else. Um...what? I'M the one being offensive to the majority. Oooookaaaay...

Stimey said...

Both of my kids' schools say it. I just conducted a little straw poll with my kids.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Our public school system says it, including the under God part, before every school day, before every assembly, before every game, before the PTO meeting. I was surprised we didn't say it on Orientation Night.

But this rural county would bring back morning prayer as well if they could. They have a bus that comes once a month that teaches bible school & the kids get out of class to attend it for an hour with parental permission. So I cannot say how in tune we are with the rest of the country

Marie Green said...

Our kids say it, and I took a similar poll of facebook once and most schools among my fb friends DO say it. I think a few private schools didn't, but that's all.

Swistle said...

jen- Don't vote "no" unless you know they deliberately don't say it: some schools say it only for assemblies, for example, but they don't have a policy AGAINST it as the forward/post claims.

nicole said...

Ours does. Also the pledge for the TX flag. I hate all of those FB status things about the military, and Jesus, and cancer, and so on. Like obnoxious chain letters. I happen to support our troops, practice my Catholic faith, and think cancer sucks, but I do not feel the need to say so on FB to prove that to anyone. It is SO ANNOYING! (yes, caps necessary)

Joanne said...

I've never seen that FB post and my LORD I feel like I've seen them all at this stage. I used to work in a private school and we said it, and the only one of my kids who has gone to public school is my son, and he only went to public school because he has autism and is largely non-verbal so he's not SAYING whether or not they said it, ha! But on the subject of autism, I have to bite my tongue, or fingers or whatever, almost every day of my LIFE on FB because some nimrod posts about how is special needs week and autism month all the time. It's in April. Sheesh. People are ca-razy with the threatening status updates.

Melissa said...

I saw this on FB too and asked my kids last week if they still say the pledge. They DO and say under God.
Who was the moron who originally posted that lol.
LOVE Nicoles comment too!

Suzanne said...

One of the teachers at my daughter's old school posted this stupid status and she knows good and well they say the pledge there every morning. It was a WTF of unbelievable magnitude!

Kelley said...

My mother is a teacher in northern VA, with lots of teacher friends. So I can say with confidence that not only does our entire school system say it but every school system in the surrounding areas do too.

Angie said...

The school where I teach AND my daughter's school both say the pledge each morning. I don't recall if the schools where I've taught in the past did. I think they did, but just as a class, not the whole school as we do now. Also, if I'm asked to resend/repost if I agree, guarantee that I will NOT. The worst are where a guilt trip is attached.

Angie said...

Oh, we also have a "moment of silence," which is code for "you can pray at this time."

meanliving said...

To the best of my knowledge, my 1st grader has never said it and doesn't know what the Pledge is. I've never heard it mentioned at any school function or in letters/PTA meetings/whathaveyou, so I have no idea if there is actually a policy or if it's just not their thing.

He attends a "Special Focus Option" program within our (west coast) city's public schools. It adheres to a Constructivist teaching philosophy which is very big on individual learning, so I suppose it might be a little anti-Pledge in general, but I suspect it's more that the school is shaped by the "alternative" (for lack of a better word) thinking of the parents and teachers, not by any administrative decision.

I personally don't recall saying it at any time after 6th grade (I grew up in Kansas). I don't think at that time it meant anything to me and, as I have not been called on to recite it since, it's not particularly meaningful to me. Part of me WANTS it to be, but I'm just not particularly patriotic that way, I guess. (Humanist vs Nationalist, get out of here stinking hippie, etc.)

G said...

My kids say it, but we're in the deep South. Every time I see those things, I suspect regional differences.

Bitts said...

I was a high school teacher for 10 years, and NEVER encountered a school or district that did NOT say it. It's a myth that the facehookers like to get all het up about. ANnoying.

Nicole said...

We're just outside Philadelphia, and we say it.

Miz S said...

I teach first grade in Maryland and we say the pledge every morning. We also teach about American symbols and George Washington and all that stuff. We are patriotic as all fuckin' get out.

Mrs. Irritation said...

My kid is just in pre-k at a church school, so I'm sure my "vote" doesn't count, but they do say the pledge of allegiance. Not sure about the public schools here though.

Would like to add my complete abhorrence of the "re-post if you think serial killers are evil" FB statuses. OMFG - really? No one will know I love my child unless I re-post some shitty made up stupid ass status update? BITE ME!

Dr. Maureen said...

This is J's first week of school, so I actually have no idea. I therefore did not vote. I *do* know that they say prayers every day! As an entire school! In the morning and before snack! I should probably mention it's a Catholic school, though.

I hate those "repost if you blah" ESPECIALLY when it has the "97% do not repost" because that sort of passive aggression makes me want to write an anti-status just out of spite. And I also hate the "forward this to 37289 of your closest friends, and make sure you reply back to me or else God will strike you and everyone you love dead and also I'll know you secretly hate me."

Megan said...

My children aren't in school yet but I am a substitute teacher and every school I have ever been to includes the pledge (and also sing the national anthem) during the announcements every single morning. "Under God" is most definitely included.

Anonymous said...

Public school in Brooklyn, NY: they say the Pledge of Allegiance, without the "under God" part.

fairydogmother said...

I love this post, and especially Nicole's comment!

The other day a friend of mine, a young cancer survivor, posted a rebuttal status against the stupid cravings/weeks thing supposedly about promoting breast cancer awareness 'secretly'. Secret awareness? Don't even get me started!

Gentle Blue Mom said...

I live and teach in Massachusetts, and there is some random state law that a school can be fined for not saying the pledge every two weeks...well, my school found we were in non-compliance thanks to a teacher who happened to be a veteran...he respectfully showed the principal the "law" and now we say it every morning as a school. I have students who were born out of the country and they stand in silence and that is perfectly fine with me. My daughter just started Kindergarten and she proudly told me yesterday, on her first day, that every morning, they stand with their hand over their heart and say "something."

Jan said...

I taught in Maryland and we said it every morning.

Ann Wyse said...

Interesting discussion: I've got a lot of non-American 'ultra liberal' friends, and none of them are OFFENDED by their kids saying the PoA - it's more an attitude of:

1) Why are we saying this to a FLAG? It's a piece of fabric.

2) Why is this happening in a SCHOOL? Isn't the PoA a little militaristic for a school?

3) (Followup to 2) Other countries that do strange paramilitaristic things like this in SCHOOLS are North Korea and Iran.

Not that I agree one way or another, but I find it interesting to consider the PoA from this perspective as well.

Farrell said...

I'm in the St. Louis area and my daughter goes to public school (1st grade) and they say it, including the "under God" part. Every morning, I believe, or it could be just once a week. They randomly choose kids throughout the year to say it over the loudspeaker with the principal and when my daughter got picked near the end of last year, she was SO EXCITED.

As for the FB thing, I never got into the "bra color" for breast cancer awareness post that was going around - I thought it was stupid. It doesn't DO anything. If you want to DO something, donate money or time to the cause. IMO.

Farrell said...

PS - I DID change my profile picture to an American flag just the other day in honor of the 10th anniversary of September 11th. I did it because my friend did it and I liked the idea. I will say, however, that neither my friend nor I urged others to do it, or told others that if they DIDN'T change their profile picture to an American flag that they were obviously terrorists.

That is the difference, I think. Do you know what I'm saying?

Elle said...

I live in one Central California school district (where I attended school as a child) where the pledge of allegiance is not said. I don't know why. It's a pretty liberal (um, hippyish...) area, so I'm guessing that has something to do with it.

I teach in a nearby district, that also does not say the pledge. Again, I'm not sure why. I've taught at my school for 7 years, and it's never even been mentioned. Now I'm curious!

Amanda said...

I'd just rather that my 8 & 10 yo not pledge allegiance to anyone at their age.

Both of their public schools do say it in the morning, including the "under god" part. I'm so glad that that separation of church and state is working out so nicely *eye roll*

Karen said...

My kids' school says the pledge every morning. I know they sing the national anthem sometimes too, but i'm not sure how often. Maybe at assemblies on Fridays?

Emily said...

I was a substitute teacher for four years (until this school year). I subbed in schools in five districts (in Iowa, districts aren't by county). Every elementary school but one said the Pledge first thing in the morning. The one that didn't was an alternative school for children with severe mental health and behavior problems, and there were no morning announcements. We also said the Pledge when I taught in Baltimore City Public Schools. I think it's less common in middle and high school, but in all the elementary schools I've been in as an educator (40?), it's been a standard part of the morning routine.

Anonymous said...

Yep, ours schools do say the pledge every morning. In addition, both our city and county's legislative bodies say the pledge before each meeting.

Kate said...

Yay for data! Swistle, you are the best.

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

My only kids are dogs, and we don't say the pledge of allegiance at dog school, BUT I hate the FB posts that have "97% of you won't be brave enough to repost this" - whatever "this" happens to be. Oh give me a break, people. If I see too many of those from any friend of mine, I tend to block their posts, because really, I don't need someone to tell me that I hate God if I don't repost some claptrap.

-Dr. Liz (and not Fiona the Dog who does have her own FB page, but also refuses to repost stupid comments)

Heather said...

I grew up in New Zealand (and now live in Australia) and neither has this concept in schools. To be honest, I really just dont understand the concept of the pledge!

Wouldnt the fact you grew up in USA be enough to make you feel fond of the place and thus your allegience would be kind of natural anyway?

Maureen said...

My daughter is a senior, but I asked her about this. She thinks they stopped saying the Pledge in about 3rd or 4th grade. She didn't know why. She goes to a K-12 which sounds like one of the schools described above, very into self directed learning, and it is also an alternative school. This was surely her various teacher's choice, they have a lot of autonomy in their classrooms.

Sabrina said...

>> "for those of us worried that the rule about separation of church and state is being enforced."

Hahahahahahahahaha, thank you. I truly love your politics, and pretty much always agree. But I adore your snarkiness about it, and I applaud your willingness to put it out there, even if it risks drawing negative comments.

(Though, I also have to say, nasty commenters are conspicuously absent here!! I can't imagine that all of your readers agree with your politics, but... Is it possible that your readers actually employ the principle of "If you don't agree, it's okay to move along. If you don't like it, don't read it"???? How did you get such awesome readers?! Or do you heavily moderate your comments? --Which is totally cool with me, too, although some nastiness can be so entertaining. And it can raise my heart rate, which is sometimes the only exercise I get in a day. Win-win!)

Oh, and I voted in the poll, so no need to mention, except I like the people who mention their geography... so, yes, my kids say the Pledge in our public school in Pittsburgh, PA.

Spiff said...

My daughter is in 2nd grade at a public school in California and she said they say it every day. It frankly wouldn't bother me in the least if they never said it...

Jen in MI said...

Yup, my kids have attended 2 public school systems and they said the Pledge in both.

Alicia said...

I'm not voting because my kids go to a hippie charter school (that does NOT say the Pledge, thank goodness, because I find it positively CREEPY to make children do this like robots without thinking). ANYWAY. I did teach in a public middle school for a few years, 2005-08, and my students were forced to say the Pledge daily. They weren't even allowed to sit down at that time. We were supposed to monitor them.

shhh said...

what Ann Wyse said - I'd be perfectly happy for a pledge of allegiance to, say, the constitution, or something, but the flag is sort of about blind/unthinking patriotism, and war for me.

we're in NYC and I can't speak for all schools, but our doesn't. I grew up here and we certainly had the pledge and the Star Spangled Banner every morning all through grade school.

cakeburnette said...

UPDATE: I still don't know if the high school says the pledge every day, but we say it at EVERY HOME FOOTBALL GAME. I don't remember this at any other game I've ever been to--usually the band just plays the National Anthem. But we're a military community and the high school is named "Veterans" high in honor of their large presence of active duty, Guard, Reserve & retired military personnel, so I guess that's why.

Swistle said...

Sabrina- I know, right?? They really are that awesome: it's very, very rare for me to have to delete a comment other than pure spam.

Rah said...

What Nicole said. Hot button! Grrrr. [Sorry, can't contribute to the pledge question because my children aren't in school.]

Sarah said...

Interesting! My kiddo isn't in school yet, so I can't vote in the poll. However, apparently he's learned it at his preschool. After dinner the other day he randomly started somewhere in the middle of it.

I think I said the pledge every morning in elementary/middle/high school. In middle & high school, I went to a private Christian school where we had to pledge to the flag, Christian flag, & the Bible everyday in morning assembly, before games or events, and basically anytime someone sneezed. Talk about creepy, that was it.

Chris said...

i put that email/fb status right up there with the one about how 'they' are going to take the word God off the monies and anything about muslims. their only intent is to invoke fear and hate.

on fb, too much of that kind of thing and you're packing your knives and leaving my friend list.

we also have a moment of silence every morning at our schools. from what I could tell during my hours of observation for college, it was the time that teachers went in the hall and chatted or checked roll or email. similarly, the children didn't seem to pay much attention to it either.

furthermore, i don't repost ANYTHING, which means i hate my children, soldiers, that i am pro pedophile, anti SPCA, and that I love the wildfires in texas.

i'll just have to deal with it.

cherylc said...

I just asked my daughter and she says that it is up to the teacher. So some years she's said it and some not. She also just told me not to talk to strangers on the Internet! :) (She's ten.)

barb. said...

My children don't say it, but I don't know if it's due to a specific issue. I suspect, however, that it's a matter of time. There's so much that has to be done and a limited amount of time to get it all in.

Jana said...

We're in Texas so my kids say the pledge every morning and then they say a pledge to the Texas flag. The TX pledge annoys me; talk about an ego issue. (Kind of explains the arrogance of our politicians, though.)

Magnolia said...

My kids say it *shrugs* and I'm not fond of 'under god'

Wendi said...

My daughter is a senior in HS -- her school has always said the pledge.

However, they do say it with "under God", and she's Wiccan, so she will not stand up for the pledge. She loves her country (and is joining the Air Force after HS) but is offended by the "under God" part.

The FB status thing that drives me crazy is the one supposedly from God, talking about he can't help our kids (or whatever) because He's not allowed in school. IMO, religion is for church (if you wish), school is for education. Or you can choose a religious school. Sheesh.

Tina G said...

Our public school in Upstate NY says the pledge daily in all grades, before games and at special school events....including the "under God" part. Students do NOT have to say it though, I've taught several students who were Jehovah's witnesses who stood but did nothing else. I support the right not to say it, but I personally like the ritual of the pledge, it chokes me up because it feels so intrinsic to my own childhood. I am not religious, either.

Kathy said...

We live in southcentral Alaska and at the middle school and elementary school my three school-aged children attend they DO say the pledge and they also say the "under God" part. (I voted.)

My 5th grader's teacher also has her class sing The Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs several times a week.

Anne said...

I don't have kids, but my uncle is a 12th grade English teacher in Wisconsin and I know his school does the pledge every day lead by the principal via loudspeaker. They tried to fire my uncle a few years back because he wouldn't say the pledge (he stood in the back of the room quietly while the class did the pledge), but the ACLU got all over that and he kept his job and the school continued the requirement that the pledge was lead via loudspeaker every morning, but now teachers/students who don't wish to say the pledge can sit or stand quietly if that is their wish.

Slim said...

I live in a liberal part of a generally conservative state, and my kids say the Pledge. It is only a matter of time before my middle child, who is basically Honey Badger, refuses, at which point I guess I'll get to learn whether kids are allowed to stand respectfully but not participate.

At one point the kids were seeing Lee Greenwood during morning opening. Argh.

Slim said...

SINGING Lee Greenwood. Seeing him would be one awful hallucination, though, huh? DARE to keep kids off drugs.

Anne said...

My kids say the pledge and they say the "under God" part in their public school in Massachusetts. I was told this began "about ten years ago" so I suspect it was in response to 9/11 not the obscure law that Gentle Blue Moon mentioned though maybe it was.

Jen said...

My kids say but I would not care one tiny bit if they someday stopped. I would really prefer his school would leave out the "under god" part but my son just doesn't say that part. My daughter says it all because she's five and has no idea what what any of it means anyway.

CARRIE said...

My daughter's public school says it. I don't know if it's every single morning, but I think it is.

I refuse to repost all that FB junk. Mostly because it is COMPLETELY UNORIGINAL. Isn't the point of FB to seem eternally wise, witty and Dorothy Parker-like???????

Laura said...

My children's public elementary and high school both say the Pledge every day.
What a well written post! You put into words what I think every time I see those ridiculous repost FB posts. The sad thing is the FB friends who post them on their wall, god love them, can be so gosh darn gullible about things like that.
Might I add something a history professor of mine (a self-proclaimed athiest) said once to our class, "As long as there are tests there will be prayer in public schools!" He said it as he was passing out our mid-term tests. Yes, there was a whole lotta prayin' going on!

Jenny Grace said...

Gabriel JUST started kindergarten, and so far, based on both he and my nephew (same class), they haven't said the pledge of allegiance. I even recited it for him to see if he knew it, he looked at me funny.

I haven't heard any explanation about doing/not doing it, but it may just be that it's the first two weeks of kindergarten, and the teacher can't be bothered.

I'll ask my 8yo nephew who goes to the same school if HE says it, and see what I drum up (for the record though, I voted no).

Christy said...

We are near Seattle, and our public school says the pledge daily (under god), but there are a few Jehovah's witnesses who remain seated and do not say it. My oldest used to say "under guard." :)

Over the Rainbow said...

I work with a number of urban schools, and all say the pledge. After a 1943 and 2002 court rulings, however, schools cannot mandate that the pledge be said, and they must allow students to omit or substitute religious language. Some schools here use alternate wording for everyone. Example: "I pledge allegiance to the people of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which we stand, one nation, part of one world, with liberty and justice for all."

Nik-Nak said...

I would like to point something out here, and it may piss alot of people off, so I am sorry in advance.

I was a member of Facebook in 2005, back then you could only sign up if you had an e-mail address from a college or university. Therefore it was only college students and the occasional high schooler that found a way around that stipulation. Back then? Those statuses were OBSOLETE. The status was always funny, odd, thought-provoking but never religious in nature, or chain letter-ish or please-pray-for-my-dear-cousin-who-fell-down-and-bumped-her-head.

Only when Facebook became open to any and everyone has it gone to the dogs. I miss the easy days. When you didn't have to worry if a co-worker or your mom was going to know that some douchebag posted that picture of you falling off your barstool. I fear I'll tell the story of the good old days to my children. When Facebook was still for students only and you only paid $3.49/gallon for gas.

(I think my point here is, FB gave a voice to those weirdos that you wouldn't normally engage in conversation with)

Anonymous said...

My kid said it for assemblies (once a week) here in a fairly liberal neighborhood in San Diego. I personally wouldn't care either way, but it did finally teach him how to identify his right hand from his left.

Jessa said...

We say two pledges here. The US one and then one for the state of NM. We are on a military installation so I can't imagine it not being said. They play the national anthem at the movie theater. And it's even sung at the first day of school event. And they had soldier at the first day of school to put the flag up and sing it again. It's a bit patriotic here. LOL Before this, I'm not sure which schools did/did not. I never thought to even ask because we said it when I was a kid and I was just under the assumption they said it everywhere until I started to hear that wasn't so as they got farther in to their school years. Honestly, I don't agree with 'under God' so I don't say it, but say the rest of the pledge.

carrie said...

We say it every morning at our school, every assembly, every Girl Scout meeting, pretty much every time we assemble (soccer opening ceremonies last week) and we live in a VERY diverse - culturally and religiously - area of California. Those who want to say under God do - those who don't, don't.

jane1024 said...

I have seen that one, and I always comment to say that patriotism exists in America precisely because it's not required. If it were up to me, the pledge - wether in it's original form or the adulterated form - would not be a part of school days.