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Do parents have the right to keep their kids from certain rituals or subjects due to religious beliefs?

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Teacher Forces Student to Recite the 'Pledge of Allegiance' Even Though It's Against His Religion

by Lisa Fogarty

A teacher in Florida was suspended without pay after grabbing a fourth grade boy's hand, placing it over his heart, and forcing him to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. No one flinched when this happened in my Catholic grade school, but the problem in this case is that she taught at a public school and the boy is a Jehovah's Witness. The child, who respectfully stood up with the rest of his classmates, explained to his teacher that his faith prevents him from worshipping objects, but she reportedly insisted that he was an American and expected to salute the flag. 

I was born and raised in America, am proud to be American, and have no issues with the word "God" or the fact that it was added to the Pledge in 1954 and, like it or not, has taken on a message that is as religious as it is patriotic. But, from a parent's point of view, public schools do not have the right to impose values that contradict my family's religious beliefs. Plain and simple. 

I am open to the possibility that this teacher wasn't fully aware of her student's religious beliefs. Public school teachers, especially those in urban areas, are exposed to children from a variety of religious backgrounds and it's irrational to expect them to have a solid understanding of every one of them. As a parent, I would have met with this teacher early on in the year to explain that certain celebrations or school rituals were against our family's faith

But let's assume that happened. From that point on, the student's right to not say the Pledge, but to either sit or stand respectfully while others practiced their right to say it, is perfectly acceptable. And let's take things even further, shall we? If a public school plans to teach sex ed or evolution or any other subject that we know is controversial for families of certain faiths, parents have the right to be forewarned and then to decide whether they think their children should be allowed to participate or sit out.

Freedom of religion trumps the freedom schools have to teach certain subjects. The purpose of public education is to prepare students for citizenship, help them become critical thinkers, and train them to compete in a global marketplace. Its purpose is not to force certain beliefs down their throats. And if you want to make the argument that this teacher was helping her student become better citizens by forcing the Pledge on him, well, I would argue that the compassion he showed by standing and his ability to respect the rights of his peers prove this child has the makings of a pretty decent citizen.

Do you think parents have the right to keep their kids from performing certain rituals or learning subjects because of their religious beliefs?

by on Nov. 8, 2013 at 9:09 AM
Replies (71-78):
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 10, 2013 at 6:25 PM

ummmm No.  Both of my great great grandparents are full Indian.  But thanks for playing!


Quoting EvilQueenMommy:

So your ancesters were directly responsible for genocide? 

Quoting Anonymous

I doubt it...my ancestors were the original one's in the states. 

If it's so great, why are we letting every Tom, Dick and Harry change something everytime someone gets offended.  It's sickening.

Quoting Anonymous:

What on earth does the topic at hand have ANYTHING to do with immigration? Last time I checked, Jehovah's Witnesses aren't a culture, a race, or immigrants. I'm willing to bet his ancestors have been here just as long, if not longer, than yours has. There is no country to send Jehovah's Witnesses back to, because they have no home country. Again, it isn't a culture, it's a religion.

And you seem to forget the fact that America was established by immigrants. There are very few histories and traditions that Americans can claim as their own, because most of them were brought here from all over the world. The only people who have the right to complain about their culture being destroyed are the Native Americans.

Compared to other countries, ours is still in it's infancy. The declaration of independence was only signed a couple hundred years ago. The current version of the American flag that you hold so dear is only 50 years old. And you know what? That's what makes our country so great. It's ever evolving. If you want to live in a country that forces it's citizens to conform to it's culture and traditions, maybe YOU should be the one to leave. 



Quoting Anonymous:

although I do not believe the teacher should have layed a finger on the said child, the child IS in America.  We are conforming so much to the immigrants that come over here, that pretty soon Americans will be the minority and we  will lose all we have established because everyone wants to be politically correct.  Geesh.  It's the pledge.  It's part of our history.  Our kids recite it in school.  Let's just remove the flag while were at it.  That should take care of all the foreighners complaining about it.  They will not be happy until we have nothing "American" left.  What other country changes it's law's, it's history to oblige an immigrant? NONE. 








Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM


I would think it wouldn't be necessary to put something in the student handbook that is already granted to us...

the teacher was wrong.  It doesn't sound like this has anything to do with school policy.

also, I recommend you google the original pledge.  This special child has every right to stand respectfully and NOT say the pledge, as we all do.

Quoting Anonymous:

Why was this not discussed when the schools handbook was given to the parents? Did they not read it? I am assuming not.  Or they could have made other arrangements for this "special" child.


Quoting Anonymous:


It was against his religion... Part of being an American is freedom of religion..

Quoting Anonymous:

although I do not believe the teacher should have layed a finger on the said child, the child IS in America.  We are conforming so much to the immigrants that come over here, that pretty soon Americans will be the minority and we  will lose all we have established because everyone wants to be politically correct.  Geesh.  It's the pledge.  It's part of our history.  Our kids recite it in school.  Let's just remove the flag while were at it.  That should take care of all the foreighners complaining about it.  They will not be happy until we have nothing "American" left.  What other country changes it's law's, it's history to oblige an immigrant? NONE. 







mariesmama
by Bronze Member on Nov. 10, 2013 at 9:05 PM

idk, children die of cancer because chemo is against parrents religeon

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 11, 2013 at 8:26 AM

your not getting it.  I do know when the original pledge was written, do you? and by whom? It was a Baptist preacher.  But religion has nothing to do with this.  And, obviously it is becoming necessary to let everyone know how we, in America do things.  I qam ending this conversation do to you not understanding.


Quoting Anonymous:


I would think it wouldn't be necessary to put something in the student handbook that is already granted to us...

the teacher was wrong.  It doesn't sound like this has anything to do with school policy.

also, I recommend you google the original pledge.  This special child has every right to stand respectfully and NOT say the pledge, as we all do.

Quoting Anonymous:

Why was this not discussed when the schools handbook was given to the parents? Did they not read it? I am assuming not.  Or they could have made other arrangements for this "special" child.


Quoting Anonymous:


It was against his religion... Part of being an American is freedom of religion..

Quoting Anonymous:

although I do not believe the teacher should have layed a finger on the said child, the child IS in America.  We are conforming so much to the immigrants that come over here, that pretty soon Americans will be the minority and we  will lose all we have established because everyone wants to be politically correct.  Geesh.  It's the pledge.  It's part of our history.  Our kids recite it in school.  Let's just remove the flag while were at it.  That should take care of all the foreighners complaining about it.  They will not be happy until we have nothing "American" left.  What other country changes it's law's, it's history to oblige an immigrant? NONE. 









Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

sure they do.  Just don't expect everyone around them to conform to them.

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 11, 2013 at 12:30 PM


YOU don't get it.  We, in America, are relatively free.  No one can be forced to say the pledge, nor can they be punished for not doing so.  The Supreme Court has ruled on this more than once.  And unless I missed something, there was nothing to indicate the child was not born and raised in th US.  A Jehovah's Witness is NOT an immigrant.  It is a religion.  And it is pretty clear that you are not understanding how we, in America, are supposed to do things.

Quoting Anonymous:

your not getting it.  I do know when the original pledge was written, do you? and by whom? It was a Baptist preacher.  But religion has nothing to do with this.  And, obviously it is becoming necessary to let everyone know how we, in America do things.  I qam ending this conversation do to you not understanding.


Quoting Anonymous:


I would think it wouldn't be necessary to put something in the student handbook that is already granted to us...

the teacher was wrong.  It doesn't sound like this has anything to do with school policy.

also, I recommend you google the original pledge.  This special child has every right to stand respectfully and NOT say the pledge, as we all do.

Quoting Anonymous:

Why was this not discussed when the schools handbook was given to the parents? Did they not read it? I am assuming not.  Or they could have made other arrangements for this "special" child.


Quoting Anonymous:


It was against his religion... Part of being an American is freedom of religion..

Quoting Anonymous:

although I do not believe the teacher should have layed a finger on the said child, the child IS in America.  We are conforming so much to the immigrants that come over here, that pretty soon Americans will be the minority and we  will lose all we have established because everyone wants to be politically correct.  Geesh.  It's the pledge.  It's part of our history.  Our kids recite it in school.  Let's just remove the flag while were at it.  That should take care of all the foreighners complaining about it.  They will not be happy until we have nothing "American" left.  What other country changes it's law's, it's history to oblige an immigrant? NONE. 











newwifenmom
by Member on Nov. 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Yes, that is a parent's right.

mama3p
by Member on Nov. 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Yes I think parents have every right. 

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