A school in New York City made time for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time last week. The school hadn’t been doing so previously even though there is a New York State law that requires public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance everyday. The issue has led to tension among parents, students and faculty since there are many international students that attend the school.
The Peck Slip School opened up in 2015 and never allowed the state-required daily Pledge of Allegiance to be recited, parents of children at the school told DNAinfo.
Several parents had issues with the lack of the daily pledge since it has a large history in the United States of America. However, the issue has sparked tensions in the school as many parents do not want the Pledge of Allegiance played due to the controversial politics surrounding the Trump administration and rhetoric regarding immigration.
“It’s a shame that this has become politicized,” one anonymous parent told DNAinfo. “I’m not a Trump supporter, I just think the pledge is a tradition that honors our country and should be a part of our children’s lives.”
After finding out that New York State requires schools to have the Pledge of Allegiance, parents called on the school and the Department of Education to enforce the rule.
Peck Slip School Principal Maggie Siena sent an email to parents on March 3 that the school would begin allotting time for the Pledge of Allegiance on March 7.
“As per New York State Education Law 8NYCRR section 108.5, we will be offering an opportunity for students at Peck Slip to say the Pledge of Allegiance in class,” Siena wrote, DNAinfo reported.
Siena added that students can opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance if they wish to do so. A copy of the Pledge of Allegiance was added in the email for students that wanted to learn the pledge and recite it daily.
Some parents were upset with the decision because it wasn’t discussed with them ahead of time.
“Both my grandfathers fought in World War II, and I love this country, but I don’t feel like the pledge is the right way to express that, especially at a school with lots of international parents and students who had never even heard about the pledge,” one parent said. “I’ve never been comfortable with the ‘under God’ part — and as I looked into the history of the pledge, it does have anti-immigrant sentiment and we don’t need any more of that.”
Some parents said that they’d never really thought much about the pledge either way, or even noticed they didn’t offer it at the school. Others said, regardless of politics, they feel the pledge is not a useful way to teach American values and represents antiquated views.
Parents at the school told DNAinfo that there are several other schools in lower Manhattan that don’t take time for the Pledge of Allegiance, including TriBeCa elementary school.