Monday, July 28, 2008

Pledge Rulings

But the court ruled that a part of the law requiring all "civilians" to stand during the pledge in schools is unconstitutional.

Christine Frazier had brought suit on behalf of her son, Cameron, in 2005, when her son was in the 11th grade. A federal district judge agreed that the rule "robs the student of the right to make an independent decision whether to say the pledge."

On appeal, 11th Circuit Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, Senior Judge James C. Hill and visiting 9th Circuit Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcón noted that the U.S. Supreme Court held over a half a century ago that local government authorities can't compel a salute to the flag.

But the panel said the Florida law protects parents' constitutional rights to bring up their children as they see fit. "The State, in restricting the student's freedom of speech, advances the protection of the constitutional rights of parents: an interest which the State may lawfully protect," the panel said Wednesday.

The panel warned that it considered only Frazier's challenge to the law on its face and not whether it might be applied constitutionally to any particular student.

On the question of standing during the pledge, the state acknowledged that students have a right to remain seated but had urged the court to read the requirement as applicable only to those students who don't get a parent's permission to not say the pledge. The 11th Circuit panel said that interpretation was too "improbable."

So, I guess parent's have no say over their children's posture (the child can sit), but they do over what they pledge to (the child cannot opt out of the pledge without parental say-so)?


Ceroill said...

The part that confuses me is where it states that restricting the student's free speech protects that of their parents regarding how to raise the child. Huh???

csm said...

I guess the idea is that children have limited rights - at least, inasmuch as their parent's rights (regarding how the child should act & behave) are more important. I don't really have a problem with this until 16 and above. While some 16 years old are assholes, some are grasping at becoming individuals and might have differing thoughts than their parents or the establishment. I would hate for parental rights to trample that development (in any direction).


No one can force a person, no matter how young, as to how or what to think. What to say, sure, but not what to think(just think of foul language). To me parents are the ones to make these decisions, not schools or the government because when the shit hits the fan the parent is legally responsible. I believe the only right a child has is the right not to be abused in all ways they can be abused.

I also believe the age of adulthood should be 18, not 16, even when it comes to driving; I know of few sixteen year olds mature enough to drive at 16 and the worst place to be driving is around a high school at 3:30pm.

coreydbarbarian said...

some of you may (or may not) recall my story on the pledge. i'll repeat it as briefly as possible.

in the 5th grade, my jehovah's witness friend refused to place his hand on his heart and recite the pledge in assembly. his religion forbade it. he received a warning when the first noticed; they said he HAD to recite it properly, or he would be punished.

the next day, in a stand on solidarity, i too refused to pledge. we were not disrespectful, we stood silently in assembly, with our hands at our sides. of course, we were both quickly yanked from the ranks and pulled to the principal's office, where we were both paddled repeatedly for our "offenses".

my friends parents came to the school the next day, and he was excused from the daily ritual. i didn't mind saying the pledge once he was excused, but the incident stays with me. we were, what, ten or eleven years old?

csm said...

Another reason why corporal punishment has no place in schools.

Ceroill said...

corey, I have a similar but almost opposite anecdote: When I was 12 my best friend was a Jehova's Witness, and I was personally questioning the validity of the exercise (pledge). When I noticed my buddy didn't do as the rest did I inquired and found out why. However, unlike your example there was no threatened punishment. Following his lead I also claimed (not truthfully, alas) that it was against my religion (I was raised Unitarian Universalist). From that point on we both did as you describe, and stood silently during pledge time. Thankfully there were no repercussions.

coreydbarbarian said...

don't feel too guilty, bob. i used to get out of the yearly christmas program by claiming the "against my religion" exception with my friend, too.
at least you were actually questioning the pledge when you opted out! : )