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I teach pre-k for public school in Oklahoma. The school is required by LAW to say the pledge of allegiance and observe a moment of silence each day. I have no problem taking a moment to breathe and mediate. I do stand and salute but I never say "under God". One of my students noticed and asked why I didn't say it. I just said, "because I believe in the separation of church and state". I also don't force them or make it a big deal to do the pledge, but you can tell some kids have been "raised right". Sometimes I want to take a knee during the pledge lol, or at least not stand and salute at all. But I know the other teachers would scrutinize me during assemblies, or I fear a student will tell a parent who will then make my life hell. And since it is the law I could actually lose my job! Thoughts?

Ozwin 4 Mar 25

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37 comments

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1

I believe that I would condition myself, by keeping my personal beliefs...personal... unless you are ask. I liked your responce about 'separation of church and state.' You did not sell yourself out and yet you did not reveal, 'your all.' I doubt that you would find the perfect teaching environment for your nature, so the next best thing is to protect your 'inner nature.' You are there to perform a service, a professional...you are not there to convince anyone of your personal worth or beliefs! Your beliefs should support you in being an upright person, and that right is not given to you by any other person! That is what this country stands for, even as it appears strained at the moment!

18

I would send a report to the ACLU about that law. It seems to me forcing the pledge is a violation of a person's freedom of speech.

icolan Level 7 Mar 25, 2018
15

One solution I've seen is to put your hand on your heart during the pledge, put it by your side during the "under god" part, and then put it back over your heart.

Why not do something about the history of the pledge for the class, emphasizing that "under god" was added way in the 1950s?

Yea, not for pre think though

10

The law is unconstitutional but I don't think it is worth your job. I would just play the game.

Nuke Level 5 Mar 25, 2018
9

I used to live in Duncan. In 2015, there was a mom that contacted the appropriate legal groups and filed a complaint when her child came home from school with a bible. The teacher had handed out bibles to kids in the classroom. The community did everything possible to make her (the complainant) and her family's lives miserable. The community rallied around the teacher.

OMG?

I believe it!

9

I never say one nation under god either. So far no one has noticed.

8

This will not make me popular here. First, let me say that the evangelical emphasis is like a pendulum. In our history, it swings back and forth. I would put the sixties on the opposite side of where we are now. Take comfort in the knowledge that it will swing back, and it's going to start soon. It always has. It's how change sticks here.

That being said, I would say that you have two choices. You can choose to be a crusader, make a big stink about it. Contact the ACLU and declare that you are willing to be a complainant. Contact the FFR and be their standard bearer. But if you're going to do it, you have to be all in. There will be press and publicity, and you will likely lose your job. It will also be difficult to find another job anywhere that is a conservative community.

The other choice is to suck it up and choose your battles on a smaller scale. It sucks. It's offensive and frustrating and wholly wrong, but it's the world we live in right now. I hate it. We all hate it, but these are your choices. If you lived somewhere else, I'd give different advice. If your job didn't involve children, I'd give different advice. Evangelicals get batshit crazy when it comes to who educates their kids. Sorry.

Why would that make you unpopular here?

@Roadster because I wasn't advocating marching in the streets or something similar, which I would love but is sadly unrealistic, imho

8

Tough situation with no easy answers.
It's easy to say report it and protest...
But a job is a job and they aren't always easy to come by. It kinda sucks, but if you risk it and it turns bad, I'm sure that word can travel even if you try to change jobs.
I say play the game... You obviously know the rules.
?
Good luck.

8

I feel your pain. My CEO and company president always pray before big meeting meals. We are in the south. I sigh as it is a customary thing here but I think it’s not a good thing to do as an employer when there are over 100 people in the room of differing backgrounds.

Some people love it though... it is irritating.

Fab Level 5 Mar 25, 2018

I can't imagine. But I've always lived in New England.

7

Why do I have a sudden desire to be a pre-k student in a Okie public school...anyway...

You're in a tough position because there is very likely a strong evangelical, fundamentalist xian influence among your peers. You'd know better than me how you'll have to "front" for your social survival, which is likely directly tied to your professional position.

Still, having put myself in a worse situation (as a K-12 music teacher in a fundie southern baptist school) I learned all too well when to play along and when there was no need to do so.

As well as it payed I could only keep up the charade a year. Your mileage may vary.

7

As much as it sucks, sometimes you are forced to go along to get along.
It's not worth losing your job over. I can't believe I just said that, but I did.
There are other ways to be subversive.

6

I agree with ACLU comments!
What bothers me more, the "under god" a relic of Joe McCarthy era, or this manifestation of patriotism? Visited on you no doubt by people who may be more seditious than patriotic, for that matter! supporting you morally/ ethically

5

That's a really hard place to be in. It really comes down to do you want to walk through fire to get it changed or is it tolerable. I think I would contact the ACLU. They could probably give you more information.

4

If you can relocate. If your union has a position on the issue find out what it is.

3

My thoughts - Pledges of allegience and children do not mix. They do not have the capacity to understand what they are saying and it should only be something required of adults at events such as becoming a citizenship ceremony. I think this should be discussed with high school kids as part of their Civics or Legal Studies subjects to have a background on where it came from & what it really means.

Agreed!

3

Let's hope that all of your students like and trust you not to expose you.

2

I admire you for adhering to your principles. When I've been expected to stand for the pledge as a high school teacher in Texas, I've usually stood but either not recited, or only recited a portion of the pledge. I have occasionally sat, but rarely. If it ever became a problem, the FFRF would help you, and you would likely win your legal case (but such might take a long time, and you might suffer some meanwhile). Your explanation was an excellent one, because separation of church and state is (in addition to being a great idea) a very patriotic reason for not saying a portion of the pledge. I think you will be ok. Keep us posted.

2

I have and I will always stand up to salute my flag....but I will never say "under god". My students -all- knew I am an Atheist and they never said anything negative about this fact.

2

I would say, not to blow your cover and your gig or build yourself a parachute well before. You would make a lovely, vivacious addition to the celebrity atheist speaker tours, I am not sure that would really pay the bills or buy the life you wanted.

2

Ozzie, it is required in Texas, also, but at least we pay better that Ok. I'm with the other posters. Yes, the law is unconstitioutional and you would EVENTUALLY win in court, but is it worth the trouble?

But, you'd be on TV and might get discovered!

2

Maybe it's just me, but the pledge of allegiance has always sort of creeped me out. A room full of people chanting in unison, covering their heart in a weird salute, promising allegiance to a flag. Ever since I was a teenager it just seemed like some weird dystopian future sort of thing. The "under god" just adds to my dislike of the whole thing.

Yeah, a loyalty oath to a nation, with no mention of its current morality (or lack thereof) is creepy. I hate the pledge.

Exactly!

2

I know Oklahoma is a right-to-work (for less) state but maybe your union rep? ACLU? FFRF?

2

You got to do what you got to do.

1

What a rotten situation to find yourself in. I would certainly contact FFRF and tell them about your story. I think the only way to curb a bs requirement such as that would be to elect a President who is willing to reverse that particular law, or at least elect an open minded governor in that state, although I imagine that would be asking for too much from Oklahoma. I wish you the best, and hopefully a remedy will present itself.

1

Land of the free says it all I thought.

1

I personally hated being forced to say the Pledge. With the current state the country is in, I feel like I’m declaring allegiance to a totalitarian dictator than allying myself with something I can voluntarily have. That’s just me, and I’m not a teacher or any type of authority figure, but forcing someone to say what they don’t actually believe may have some problems to it.

Adam7 Level 4 Mar 26, 2018
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