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Atlanta School Cuts Pledge of Allegiance From Start of School Day

posted by RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter - 

Atlanta school to no longer require pledge at beginning of school day

A charter school in Atlanta says they've decided to forego one of the early morning traditions most students participate in. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School announced on Tuesday that students will no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance to start their school day. 

In a letter sent to parents, elementary campus president Lara Zelski explained the school's decision to remove the daily pledge from their morning meetings. 

One change that we made to our morning meeting agenda this year is that we will not be including the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. 

Instead of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, students will begin their school days by participating in the school's "Wolf Pack Chant."

Students will continue to lead the meeting by asking our community to stand to participate in our Wolf Pack Chant together. Students will also be given the opportunity to say the pledge at another point during the school day within their classroom. 

Zelski said that many students in the charter school had already elected to choose not to stand and/or recite the pledge. 

This decision was made in an effort to begin our day as a fully inclusive and connected community. Over the past couple of years it has become increasingly obvious that more and more of our community were choosing to not stand and/or recite the pledge. There are many emotions around this and we want everyone in our school family to start their day in a positive manner. After all, that is the whole purpose of our morning meeting.

The letter goes on to say that school administrators would be working with teachers and parents to create a "school pledge" that students and staff could say together at the morning meeting. The pledge will reportedly focus on a student's civic responsibilities to their "school, family, community, county and global society."

The Pledge of Allegiance has long been a staple at schools across the country, but the Supreme Court has ruled that students cannot be compelled to recite the pledge, nor can they be punished for refusing to do so. 

The pledge was originally composed by Captain George Thatcher Balch, a Union Army officer during the Civil War. It was largely rewritten by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942 at the height of the Second World War.

The most recent update to the wording came in 1954 when Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge. 

Photo: Getty Images

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