Young “Star Trek” fan suspended for his modified Pledge of Allegiance.

Over at the blog Beauty Dish you can find another example of the idiocy behind mandatory recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance. Birdie tells us about how her 8-year-old son was suspended for a day because he got creative with the Pledge:

“Your son, 8, has been suspended for the day. Come here and pick him up.”

She didn’t give me time to answer, to ask questions, her voice disappeared as if someone cut the line. I stood in the kitchen, my bare feet aching from yesterday’s marathon, and I took a deep breath. My son can be a nut at times, but he’s never done the kinds of things that troubled kids do. He doesn’t talk back, he doesn’t pick fights, and he’s never destroyed property. I couldn’t picture him doing anything scholastically evil. Maybe he stripped and ran around the school naked, I thought. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

The principal met me in her office. She closed the door tightly behind me and invited me to sit in a stuffed orange vinyl chair.

“Mrs. Jaworski, 8 has been suspended from school for one day.” She wore an arctic blue power jacket over black slacks, and I self-consciously tried to pull my hooded sweatshirt further over my pink pajamas.

“It’s Ms., please. And sorry for my attire, but I ran a marathon yesterday and I’m too sore to change this morning.” I tried to infect her with my smile, but she wore a tight-lipped expression as frosty as her jacket. “So, anyway. What did he do?” I picked at the hem of my sweatshirt, looked just to the right of her face. I couldn’t meet her eyes. I felt nervous. I felt underdressed. I wondered where 8 was.

So she told me what he did. And as she told me, I started to laugh. I didn’t laugh a little, either, but I belly-laughed and grabbed my stomach. My son stood with his class this morning, put small right hand over heart, faced the American flag, and recited his own personal pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

“Mrs. Jaworski. This isn’t humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son’s behavior, and I hope you are, too.”

Birdie’s response was a lot kinder than what mine would’ve been if I were to find myself in the same situation. After that last statement from the Principal my first question probably would’ve been, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, right?”

Most eight-year-olds don’t have anything close to an understanding of what the Pledge of Allegiance is supposed to mean or what significance reciting it involves. It’s just this silly little poem they’re expected to repeat every day in a weird little ritual that the adults around them seem to think is important. There’s more to patriotism than standing around reciting the Pledge or putting stupid “Support Our Troops” magnets on your car. At best you’ve got a bunch of kids who mindlessly recite the pledge without knowing or caring about what it’s supposed to represent and at worst you’re laying the groundwork for future resentment of the Pledge or feelings that it’s little more than a joke. Is that really the sort of patriotism this country needs?

Link found via Boing Boing.

31 thoughts on “Young “Star Trek” fan suspended for his modified Pledge of Allegiance.

  1. Wait, was this really a Star Trek thing or just a general space pledge? I didn’t know 8 year olds even knew what Star Trek is/was.

    When I was in kindergarten I used to think “for which it stands” was “for witches stand” and quite literally. As my Mom’s favorite embarassing kid story is “The day my son asked me if witches were real and claimed to have proof.”

  2. I think I would have done a spit take in the principles face….even if it meant I needed to run down the hall, find a soda machine, purchase a drink, stroll casually through the school drinking it while admiring the finger paintings on the wall, saving the last swallow for the big event, returing to the office, and finally blowing carbonated beverage in face.

  3. To add to discussion about childhood thoughts influencing later theories about things in life, I actually believe my disbelief in God came from saying prayers, singing hymns and talking about Christian religious matters in assemblies at my primary school.

    I believed that as a child I was meant to be told stories, as they were fun to listen to and had moral grounds which were interesting to learn. At my young age, ‘God’ sounded about as amazing as any Santa Clause or tooth fairy, both of whom I disbelieved in. It wasn’t until I got older and took mandatory Religious Studies classes at secondary school that I realised people actually took the idea of Christianity and a God seriously.

    I was actually quite taken aback that people were taking as genuine fact what I believed from a very young age to be purely fictious ‘moral stories’ (I have always greatly compared biblical stories to Aesop’s Fables).

    Has anyone else found that what they were taught at a young age influenced them in an opposite way than it was originally intended?

  4. I don’t think the kid should have been punished at all, I think they should have applauded the fact that a kid of such a young age was creative enough to come out with something like that.

    I say f*ck em… home school the kid, cos with brains like that he’ll probably become a creative genius without their help!

    Pledge of alliegence my arse.

  5. Just try to imagine the mass hypnosis this region of the world has endured in the last 50 years, more so in the last 15 years and even more so since 2001.

    Although the promise of change is everywhere inside and out; what many have observed that the ancient pillars that have held our societies have only grown stronger in recent times, contrary to what many believe.

  6. I mentioned this on a thread at and now there is a guy frothing at the mouth, calling it a liberal lie because he can’t find a story about it on any news sources other than blogs.

  7. Dude.  If one of my students did that, I’d applaud him.

    Maybe I’d encourage kids to make their own pledges.  Far more meaningful and interesting an exploration of purpose than rote memorization!

    What a jackass principal.

  8. Considering the pledge was a marketing jingle though up by magazine publishers, I have a hard time being serious about it in the any case.  I don’t consider it any more serious than “Yaba Daba Doo!”

    The principle has something up his a**!

  9. It was Star Trek that first seeded my young mind with the idea that war isn’t necessary and starvation not inevitable; that our world need not be riven with strife and want.

    Today I look at all the fighting and problems and sadly think; “It doesn’t have to be this way.” 

    “Excuse me, but it sounds as though with a great deal of hard work and courage, your ancestors changed this world all by themselves.”

    Make it so.

  10. All that reciting the Pledge did for me was to ingrain a distrust of oaths, and make me supicious about patriotic principles.

    The Pledge should simply be abolished.

    This Principal, and the Parent Who Ratted, would have been right at home in Nazi Germany, or for that matter in the DDR, ratting on their neighbors for transgressions against the State.

  11. Leguru: Love your avatar! – reminds me of that black and white pic,wine glass or two faces.Hope you noticed the alt picture!

  12. And could’nt agree more with you Zilch – enforced patriotism is what they have in China no? they just call it nationalism.
    Hey Shana – liked your old avatar better,(but hey its a free country….)

  13. yeah, I’ve thought about changing it back, actually.
    or a new one…
    leguru, is that what I think that is???  looks like that principal and her informants!

    oh. my.

    sorry for contributing to the derailing!  wink

  14. A zany derailla named shana
    Has a style that couldn’t be plaina
    The threat of a thread drift
    Engenders no head shift
    “Mo ichi do? It’s a no-braina!”

  15. Hey, thank you so kindly for linking to my son’s pledge experience! It’s been wonderful showing him all the support that he’s getting from folks all over the world. He is such a sweet boy, and full of creative energy. I’m glad that most people don’t think he should have been punished. Much peace to you today!

  16. I posted a link in your comments, Birdie, but I’ll repost here…

    Most people THERE don’t think 8 should have been punished either.  You might even have cause for action.

    I really feel for you, dear.  I grew up in OC, and my characterization of it is best summed up as “No Left Turns in Orange County.”  I imagine that had I not relocated to LA before my daughter started school, the past 9 years would have seen me at odds with dumbshits like 8’s principal quite a few times.  Which is not to say I’ve not butted heads with a principal or two up here over the years.  wink

  17. This Principal, and the Parent Who Ratted, would have been right at home in Nazi Germany, or for that matter in the DDR, ratting on their neighbors for transgressions against the State.

    You forgot Soviet Union, China, North Korea…

  18. zilch, I love you.

    Birdie, YOU GO GIRL!  Your son rocks my socks.

    DOF, I believe there is such a law…Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, refuse to say the pledge and I think there’d be quite an uproar if they were forced.
    If there isn’t, there should be!

  19. That said, isn’t there precedent law that kids cannot be compelled to say the Pledge?

    Ouch! I laughed so hard when I read your comment that a heard a rib snap. One answer is yes, one cannot be compelled to recite the pledge or be forced to observe a moment of silence (that wedge to drive prayer back into the classroom) before class. The better answer is find a teacher or school administrator enlightened enough to comply, let alone enforce the law that protects a students right NOT to be compelled. I mean school is all about creating mindless little conformists right? We need more bodies for Iraq, more cogs for the great machine, independant thought is for our betters.

    I was being sarcastic by the way (subtle huh?).

  20. Oh dear, this country is descending at a rapid rate.  Any faster and we’d burn up in the proverbial atmosphere of government…or something like that.

    Furthermore, why the fuck would an 8 year old like Star Trek? It’s teh suxx0r in comparison to Star Wars (cue Light Saber sound).

    Can’t Congress approve the seccesion of the Bible Belt as per CHRISTIAN EXODUS??

  21. DOF- You’re right, as usual.  Next time, it’s Nazi Lite, hold the Mayo.
    E.T.- I didn’t forget North Korea, it’s just that the list of nations with mandatory patriotism is so long…
    Birdie- I think your son’s Pledge is much better than the silly one the schools have- it’s much more inclusive.  Bravo to the both of you.
    Shana- Ditto.  Moochas smoochas.

  22. Frumpa & Shana,
    The new avatar is a real logo of the Brazilian Institute of Oriental Studies, and no, I don’t think they noticed the picture within a picture when they adopted the logo. Pois, eu falo portugues, entao nao problema. Deija que diga, que pensa, que fala . . . What a pity the principal had no sense of humor!

  23. Considering the pledge was a marketing jingle though up by magazine publishers, I have a hard time being serious about it in the any case.  I don’t consider it any more serious than “Yaba Daba Doo!

  24. I’m sure that the kid shouldn’t have been suspended, or even disciplined beyond the “don’t be an asshat” way, but when kids are pledging alliegence to a fictional communist state, teachers must take notice!

    P.S I’m a trekkie and I think that this kids modified pledge is awesome.

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