Student punished for leaving ‘under God’ out of Pledge.

Out in the state of Washington they have a law requiring the school day to begin with a student recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and at Spanaway Lake High School the broadcasting class selects a student from the class to deliever this Pledge every week over the school’s TV monitors while images of a flag fluttering patriotically in the wind are shown onscreen. When it came time for senior Kenny Hess to recite the Pledge for the broadcast he decided to leave out the ‘under God’ part and now he’s being punished for it. – News

On Tuesday, several Spanaway Lake students and teachers complained after hearing the altered pledge.

On Wednesday, school officials told Hess he would be permitted only to read books during his broadcasting class.

Hess, 18, plans a career in broadcasting and wants to finish his assignments.

“I want my privileges back,” he said. “It’s not right to take them away.”

School officials said Hess should have chosen to write an article for the school paper or produce an opinion piece for the school newscast.

Administrators said Hess’ actions put the school out of sync with state law, though lawyers note that there is no criminal or civil penalty for not saying the pledge. State law allows students to remain silent during the pledge.

School officials said they’ve punished Hess for misusing school equipment to deliver a personal message.

“He made a poor choice,” said Mark Wenzel, Bethel School District spokesman.

So all of you folks who keep sending me email telling me about how no one has to say ‘under God’ when they recite the Pledge, or even say the Pledge at all, and no one will care if they don’t, well, you can stop sending me those emails now.

Oh, and this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

14 thoughts on “Student punished for leaving ‘under God’ out of Pledge.

  1. Looking at the story, it’s not quite as clear-cut as the headline (or the other story you link to) is.  Assuming the kid had the option of declining to recite the pledge as part of his assignment, then the school is within its rights to punish him for altering the content of the broadcast he made.

    If that assumption is incorrect, then they don’t have a leg to stand on.

  2. Stories like this make ya think…and try to stay with me on this one…

    The people who enforce rules like this are older people am I right? Such as people who put laws like this in place, and the principal in this story would probably be older. The majority of people who are religious, or try to uphold anything to do with religion are older people. Although, when you look at the youth..such as me, religion means nothing. Maybe not the majority, but a good chunk of the youth would probably agree that we are better off without religion. Even people who were raised in religious homes can be found on the other side of the fence.

    So here’s my point. When all these old assholes, who push beliefs on anyone and everyone are gone, and today’s youth (tomorrow’s old assholes) are running the day to day events on planet earth will religion remain a force in this society, or will it fizzle out little by little until the western world can opperate without it?

    I don’t think we would ever be that lucky, but I do think when I’m old and gray religion will be on the back burner as far as most people are concerned. I know that if I was the principal at that school, I would not enforce that rule, or law as they called it. A princial’s job is not to enforce state laws is it? I don’t know.

  3. hi
    Did you guys learn anything from the communist witch hunts of your recent past.
    This is all just religous Mcarthyism,it will scar your collective psyche,you will have to spend another 40 odd years at your analysts.
    Actually as a commited conspiracy theorist i will just assume that this whole secular/religous schism is being fuelled by the psychiatrists of America to keep the therapy industry going.

  4. Calvin,

    There is general trend that when people get to college (or any time they are youngish and setting their own priorities and schedules) they tend to drop religion as something they include in their lives.

    When they either get married, or have children on the way, they reprioritize it as an important thing, again.

    I’m not saying that this is good or bad. However, the the “older” people you describe were probably in college back in the 60’s and 70’s when “free thinking” was all the rage, and religion was passe.

    Chances are good that religion will exist in similar numbers to today, when we are all older and making the decisions and running the country.

  5. When all these old assholes, who push beliefs on anyone and everyone are gone, and today

  6. The people who live their life wild and free during college, and the people of the sixties, and just about every person on the planet…they/we are all very impressionable.

    So after years of premarital sex and snorting, smoking, injecting and absorbing any and every drug…they grow a little older, too old to keep the pace up any longer. So what do they do? They start believing all the bullshit about how they have no morals, and what they have done in the past, and what the kids are doing in the present is indecent, and self destructive behavior. What comes next; I’ll tell you what comes next…guilt.

    They are made to feel guilty, so now that they aren’t having fun anymore, they want to be forgiven, and rid themselves of guilt so enter religion. What better way to convince yourself that you’re no longer impure?

    Lets face it, after the 60’s with all its sex and drugs, when that era let up…fun just wasn’t fun anymore, it became dangerous. Although I wouldn’t feel bad that I had that fun when I was younger, I would be happy that I got the chance, and I certainly would not be made feel guilty because I had fun.

    Being a youth of today like I am, I can tell you that doing as many drugs, and having sex with as many people as possible while I’m a young whip is a priority. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to pick up a Bible when I turn 30, and start reading bedtime stories to my children from it.

    If we could get everyone on the planet to agree to one day without religion world wide…we’d certainly be on the right track.

  7. It’s pretty funny to hear people talk of my generation as if they know what it was like. They no more know what it was like then than we know what it is like to be young today.

    I started school in 1957, when Sputnik was launched and the great space race started. I participated in “duck and cover” civil defense drills. We said BOTH the Pledge of Allegiance AND the Lord’s Prayer, EVERY day in school. (Hey I lived in the midwest, what can I say?) I actually remember Madeline Murray O’Hare and the school-prayer struggle first-hand and remember my parents’ discussions of the issue.

    I was uncomfortable saying it then, though I didn’t tell anyone, and remember feeling pressured by my peers to comply. I DID not return to religion in my later years, in fact, I’ve gotten more distant and more vocal. (I have “E Pluribus Unum” and “One Nation, Indivisable” bumper stickers on my car.)

    The people that push this current religious agenda are not necessarily the people I sat with to hear Abbie Hoffman tell us to “F**K in the streets”. Some of those people who sat with me then serve on the ACLU board with me now, volunteer at Planned Parenthood with me now and march on state or national capitols with me now on a variety of issues. Actually you have to remember that a smaller percentage of people went to college back then than go now and the majority of my generation who might claim to be ex-hippies are actually not activists (the two aren’t necessarily related) at all and weren’t back then either. They are the great apathetic majority. Even for the majority of those who embraced the music, the fasion, and the sexual revolution it was more a fad than an ideology.

    So, those of you who are young today, ask youselves if you truly embrace an idea because it is fasionable or because it is important to the core of your being. Because, if it is the latter, you will follow it with more than annonymous words on an internet blog. You will turn your beliefs into action (voting is a good place to start) and there’s a chance you will still embrace those values when you are my advanced age.

    Old person rant is over and you may return to your normal viewing pleasure.

  8. Wow! Reading some of the younger commenters on this thread has been pretty funny. I’ve got some comments, but I’m short on time this morning so they’ll have to wait.

  9. Queen Millefiori, that was wonderful.  Thank you.

    I think so much changes when you have children, to the point where even if you were comfortable with your own values before, it’s no longer enough.  Your children get taught things in school and by their peers that you were living perfectly fine without but now have to address with them (such as the whold “god” thing).  Your parents get more interested in passing things along to your children that you wouldn’t have given them yourself.  You start worrying about school funding and curriculum, for obvious reasons.  You may not have cared previously how much traffic was on your street, but after you have kids who want to play there, you sure as hell DO care about zoning.  And so you end up getting into a lot of political issues, like it or not, until you’ve turned into a soccer mom and can’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror.  But I digress.

    As far as I can tell, anybody with the faintest religious bent in their background gets more so once they have children, even if they weren’t before.  There are a lot of deep-rooted psychological issues that come into play when an ethnically and spiritually diverse generation starts wrangling over how to raise its kids, since we tend to raise them all together, not in a vaccuum.

  10. Queen millifiore
    I too am one of the old asshole calvin mentions.
    Though I was born in 57 so a slightly younger vintage than yourself.
    I disagree slightly with you I do remember what it was like to be 18.This is the same age as my son,and although the particulars of being young today may be different,the overall flavour is the same.
    The point I am trying to make is that having been 18 I can empathise with my son and his friends teen existential angst,but until he and his friends have been there,got the T shirt and video,of being 47 and all points in between,they will struggle to empathise with us.
    I live in the UK so again the details only vary.
    I have seen the same phenomena of liberals becoming conservative.My understanding of why this occurs goes something like this;
    Young no ties no responsibilities everything to look forward to its much easier to be easygoing
    and liberal
    Older grown up,you have a job a house children you want to protect plus all the material advantages that you dont want to lose.
    Having created a comfort zone you’r not about to let some snotty nosed young interloper sieze it all so politically you become conservative.
    The root of the word says it all,tending to conserve averse to rapid change.
    This by the way is not me or me attempting to describe you.It’s just my interpretation of what goes on between generation X and why.
    I am definetly not conservative.In fact I am about to leave the comfort zone I have created as I feel it is stifling me.
    Amicably leave my wife and son while I go of with nothing and see if I can exist in my own right,Build a boat for my wife and I to retire to.
    So even us old assholes can dream.   
    PS Did you really sit in the street listening to Abby hoffman.

  11. Yes, I sat cross-legged and barefooted on the dirt floor of Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas and listened to Abbie Hoffman.

    I wasn’t an anarchist however and I wasn’t into sex, drugs and rock & Roll (well at least not the drugs and Rock&Roll). I was more the folk music, environment,  civil rights, civil liberties and feminist type activist. And actually like I said, very few people took the activism part of the 60s to heart. Most just took it as a way to be irresponsible and get away with bad behavior associated with being young.

    Oh, and I remember what it was like to be 18. That’s different than truely understanding how todays pressures and pace affect children. I grew up believing that we were going to be destroyed in a atomic holocost. Todays generation has a whole new set of fears and expectations that are valid to them.

    Actually, when I became responsible for rearing children, I did not stray back toward the mainstream. I became more active because I wanted to leave a better world for them. I spent hours explaing questions about god and religion and how what our family believed may be different from what their freinds families believed but that didn’t make us wrong. I tried to lead by example that just because you didn’t believe in god or practiced a religion you could still lead a moral life and a life committed to helping others. I encouraged exploration of a wide variety of ideas and hopefully taught them to keep a modicum of skeptism about any dogma. I see those children becoming caring people with a curiosity about the world and an open mind.

  12. Queeny
    “I grew up believing that we were going to be destroyed in a atomic holocost.”
    My sons holocost may be non nuclear,his fears are more to do with fanatacism and fundamentalist regimes, Americas swerve in that direction is something he finds particularly alarming.
    But the net result is the same in that it creates uncertainty and apprehension.
    How they deal with it will be interesting.Our generation utilised the strength of the group or community to both attack the iniquities and provide mutual support to each other as “outsiders”.
    In this country their has been considerable erosion of core values of society and community,consumerism encourages self centred behaviour.
    Altruism has become as rare as hens teeth,like you, I know that we “don’t inherit the earth we borrow it from our children”
    Like you I have taught my son that It’s important that he as an individual behaves in a moral and considerate manner.
    Maybe the cumulative effect of these 2 generations efforts will be enough to avert the global disasters looming up.It saddens me to know my sons generation will have to pay for the comfortable life we have had in the west, when the rest of the world decides that they too want these things.History tells me that “we” will not share them without a struggle.
    Sorry for the doom mongering I don’t dwell on these things but nor do I sweep them under the carpet.“The times they are a changing”.

  13. I don’t know if anyone looks at this thread anymore because the subject is kind of old but this is kind of funny reading all this stuff about my friend Kenny… I know what stemmed his reasoning to take out the “under god” part of the pledge besides the fact that he’s agnostic and doesn’t believe we should be saying it i guess. But it’s really funny that something he thought was so simple was broadcasted over the news across the nation almost… he never would have even done that if we hadn’t had the debate about it in our Current World Issues class the day before… He took it out the next day to prove a point to the kids who were against him and a few others in the debate and he was sitting in the back of the class all proud when the the pledge came on the school t.v…

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