The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

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The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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The American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance aren’t needed in schools

Luna+Zuniga+has+her+flag+in+the+corner+of+the+classroom.+Its+easily+visble+from+most+parts+of+the+room+here.
Credit: Lexi Tuley
Luna Zuniga has her flag in the corner of the classroom. It’s easily visble from most parts of the room here.

The American flag is one of the most recognizable symbols for American pride in the United States. It’s on clothes, phone cases, bumper stickers. Anything that can have an American flag on it will, but not everyone agrees on where it should be.

The American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance are a controversial presence in classrooms across the country. According to Act 451, Michigan requires a flag and the equipment necessary to display it in every public school classroom. This act also requires that teachers give students the option to recite the Pledge each morning, though after elementary school, students rarely do.

Even though physically, it’s nothing more than a piece of dyed fabric, the American flag holds a lot of symbolic values and meanings for people, both good and bad. Some people see it as a symbol of freedom, while others view it as a representation of America’s history of oppression. These conflicting views have led to a lot of different opinions on whether the flag belongs in an American public classroom.

Art teacher Luna Zuniga feels that requiring the flag in every classroom feels archaic and isolating.

 “There are so many different cultures in the US now. If we’re gonna represent the US we should represent other cultures and their flags,” Zuniga said.

Like Zuniga, students also have conflicting thoughts about the presence of these American symbols in classrooms. Some students think that the flag is an important symbol, while others think America’s pride is a bit strange.

One student in particular, sophomore Muti Kadaluka, thinks America takes its patriotism to a comedic level.

“Growing up in an ethnic household, it’s honestly bizarre seeing people persistently rep[resent] their nation’s flag, on their assets, attire or even skin. I understand being proud of where you came from and such, but I feel like we overdo it,” said Kadaluka.

A lot of students seem to agree that ultimately it should be up to the teacher whether or not to have an American flag in their classroom, bringing up how context also matters. It makes sense to have an American flag in a history or government class, but not so much in an art or science class. 

Sophomore Cordae Gordon thinks that because the flag doesn’t represent everyone, it shouldn’t be in every classroom.

“I feel like you don’t have to keep one in every classroom because some teachers may not be from the US and not want it there,” said Gordon.

Kadaluka feels a similar way.

“There might be students who don’t feel represented by the American flag, and seeing it everywhere might not be the best for them,” said Kadaluka.

Not all students think that way, however. Some students think that the American flag should be in every classroom. This, however, is a far less popular opinion among students, with most preferring the teacher to have a choice in the matter. In a poll of 80 Norrix students, approximately 80% said they would like the teacher to be able to choose.

Having the ability to choose is an important part of this equation. America prides itself on being a mixing pot of cultures, but there’s something that feels a bit constricting about requiring the American flag in every classroom in a school. At a school like Loy Norrix, a place full of so many different backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities, having the American flag everywhere you go may be a bit much.

Michael Wright, AP Government and Military History teacher, feels very strongly that there should be an American flag in every classroom. However, he  doesn’t feel the same way about the Pledge of Allegiance. 

“I think there are other ways to build loyalty to your country and your nation without compulsory standing and reciting of lines that don’t really have any other meaning or explanation to students,” Wright said.

I think there are other ways to build loyalty to your country and your nation without compulsory standing and reciting of lines that don’t really have any other meaning or explanation to students.”

— Michael Wright

Wright served in the Army National Guard for almost four years but says that his service had little to no impact on his views.

 “I served my country because I love it, and I continue to love it,” said Wright. “I had those views long beforehand.”

Zuniga believes that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but she thinks that publicly reciting the pledge every morning is strange.

 “It’s very nationalist. It’s a weird pride that I personally don’t understand, even growing up in a military household,” said Zuniga.

The origins of the practice emerged as a way to “Americanize” immigrants in the 1800s. In his article, How the Pledge of Allegiance Went from Marketing Ploy to Classroom Staple, Dave Roos writes about Francis Bellamy, the original author of the Pledge of Allegiance. Bellamy was a Christian Socialist whose goal was to spread patriotism throughout America by marketing the pledge and selling flags. 

At the time, a lot of American citizens wanted to make sure that all of the immigrants coming to the US were integrating themselves into the culture, a trend we still see today. The thought process was that if you had people reciting the pledge and saluting the flag, their loyalty for the country would grow.Bellamy salute - Wikipedia

The original salute for the Pledge of Allegiance resembles the Nazi salute. It was changed to the hand over heart salute used today as a result. 

If not for the law requiring it, Zuniga states that she wouldn’t have an American flag or the Pledge of Allegiance in her classroom, saying that the pledge uses up class time.

“Even though the pledge is one minute, that’s one minute less of class time we get on top of announcements, drills, or any other type of emergency situation,” said Zuniga.

While reciting the pledge is optional in Michigan, some states, like Texas and Florida, require students to say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. 

According to Do Students Have to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem in Schools? by E.A. Gjelten, in those states students need to have permission from their parents to exempt their student from participating in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

America is a very prideful country and it works to spread that pride through its schools, but it can be isolating to students and staff. If freedom is valued in schools the people in them should be able to choose where, and if, they want American flags and the Pledge of Allegiance in their classrooms.

How do you feel about the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance?

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About the Contributor
Lexi Tuley
Lexi Tuley, Graphics Editor
Hello! I'm the graphics editor for Knight Life. This is my second year being on the Knight Life staff and I'm a senior. I love being on Knight Life and getting to write about things for the school and things that interest me. When I'm not working on school stuff or Knight Life I spend my time reading, playing video games, watching tv/ movies and crocheting.

Comments (44)

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  • K

    Krystiana BernsteinFeb 29, 2024 at 11:17 am

    The flag and the pledge should be optional. As a student, I couldn’t care less if the flag was in the room or not and if we said the pledge. Half the time I don’t even notice it’s there or missing. I’m at school to learn, not pledge my life to America. If I wanted that I’d go join the military.

    Reply
    • D

      DexApr 22, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      Maybe you should go fy?

      Reply
  • J

    James JohnsonFeb 28, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    Lexi, I am proud of you for your thinking, writing, and research, plus the balance with which you covered this sensitive subject. Ignore the trolls who confuse “patriotism” with “cult membership”. They abuse the freedoms they profess to cherish.

    Reply
  • E

    Edward AguilarFeb 26, 2024 at 2:40 pm

    I enjoyed this article a lot, I loved seeing different views from people!!

    Reply
  • D

    Dylan BFeb 23, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    The public schools are owned by the people they are part of the commons we are unique members of a political community, actually we are unique members of several political communities, these United States are political community that we are a member of AKA citizen, our home state we are a member of our County our city and town and hopefully at your workplace a union. I love democracy but something should not be left up to democracy because they are too valuable to certain principles. I am up to believe that the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution known as the Bill of Rights should be unamendable because even if the majority of the people and the majority of Representatives in the majority of states are super majority and the context of amending the United States Constitution it’s there to make the change the change should still not be made because democracy is not worth a crumb if certain individual liberties are not holy protected. As far as the flag goes this should not be a discussion it should be a law in every state that’s a flag in front of every public school every public building and a flag and every public classroom and throughout every public building and also the state flag. Why? Because as I said these schools belong to everybody they offended by the unique members of a political community that flag represents everybody and flag represents this political community that flag represents the protection of our Democratic and our natural rights and are freedom to freely participate in the political system and the resources that we provide each other that flag represents certain ideas those ideas are universal at private places it’s up to the ownership but in public places that flag represents that we all own this public place that’s what that flag partially represents. one looks at all the old marches the union marches the civil Rights march is the Communist marching conservative Rally’s liberals Rally’s all hoisted up several American flags because that American flag belongs to us all our freedom to associate our freedom to rally for certain legislation or freedom to express ideas or freedom to pick it on freedom of speech the details of that do not really matter and they were hoisting it up saying we are members of this political community also and this is our flag also once the new Left came in with their toxic ideas which are free to have they really ruined patriotism as the article said the pledge of allegiance was written by a Christian socialist, I myself am a Progressive Christian Jeffersonian/Jacksonian old left libertarian, progressive Social Democrat Laborite or Trade Unionist corporatist with moderate socially and or culturally traditional AKA conservative beliefs and values ( YES I AM A POLITICAL SCIENCE GEEK ) I say that to let you no that patriotism does not belong only to the right wing of the political American spectrum but I hope it’s understood by my statement that patriotism it’s not simply a fashion choice or a design it is something deeper even though I do like American flag memorabilia. SOLIDARITY WITH THE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS. I’m out!

    Reply
    • S

      Selina KyleFeb 26, 2024 at 10:18 am

      Get a job or a diary

      Reply
    • U

      Uncle SamFeb 28, 2024 at 2:54 pm

      The run on sentences really dilute your argument.

      Reply
    • E

      Emerson EdwardsFeb 29, 2024 at 6:17 pm

      Touch grass

      Reply
  • D

    Diane DziewickiFeb 23, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    The American flag is a symbol of our patriotism. For me anyone who doesn’t want the flag in a classroom doesn’t belong in our great country !!!!!

    Reply
    • U

      Uncle SamFeb 28, 2024 at 3:01 pm

      Patriotism is FAR more than displaying a flag.

      “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” —James Baldwin

      Reply
  • M

    MattFeb 22, 2024 at 9:19 pm

    A lot of commenters here seem to value the flag over the laws and principles it symbolizes.

    Reply
  • B

    Bob HolleyFeb 22, 2024 at 4:32 pm

    Problem is freedom is not valued in schools. The WOKE culture has seen to that.

    Reply
    • J

      John ChesterFeb 23, 2024 at 8:26 am

      Freedom is very valued in schools. Like the freedom to not blindly worship a flag and sing a song at the start of every day.

      Reply
  • B

    BradFeb 22, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    If they don’t like the flag there, give back the funding. Win win for everyone.

    Reply
  • E

    Ender Ross Web EditorFeb 22, 2024 at 2:00 pm

    The display of the American flag and singing of the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every day of school is something that would have very different reactions if you simply swapped “America” for “North Korea.”

    Reply
  • M

    Marda Bates BurmannFeb 22, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    Yes Luna, there ARE many cultures in this country, but the United States has ONE flag and only ONE flag that should be proudly flown for all US citizens and citizen wannabes to be reminded of the country where they have chosen to live! End of story.

    Reply
    • J

      Jordan HatchettFeb 22, 2024 at 1:48 pm

      I mean, lots of people don’t choose to live in the United States. I was just born here. Plus lots of people aren’t proud of the United States.

      Reply
  • J

    JaxFeb 22, 2024 at 8:42 am

    The American flag isn’t about ‘culture’. It’s about FREEDOM and it represents EVERY US CITIZEN in the country.,regardless of culture, religion, race, ethnicity, age, sex or any other dividing factor. The flag is not about oppression either, it represents UNITY, for ALL citizens. It’s is about fighting for no oppression, for freedom. Why is it okay to hear those that oppose it but not hear those that support it? It is a time banner that can be used to represent actual history, good history or bad history, which EVERY country has.

    Reply
    • F

      Frank HesselFeb 22, 2024 at 1:56 pm

      Your comment is bizarre. Your earlier points are built on the idea that the Flag means the same thing to everyone, which is incorrect. It is a symbol of the United States, who has acted as an oppressor and overlord to Native Americans and African Americans for much of it’s history. Secondly, there was never any point about not listening to people who support having the flag in the classroom. The article LITERALLY has quotes from someone who does support having the flag in classrooms. Thirdly, your last sentence is just whataboutism. Yes, other countries have history. It means nothing.

      Reply
  • T

    TonyFeb 22, 2024 at 7:39 am

    People are flocking to this country in record numbers. I’m sure they are not coming here because it is worse than the country of origin. Therefore they should be thankful to be here and should have no reservations about seeing the flag or stating the pledge of allegiance. The other side of this is that if they do not like it here they are free to return to their country of origin. They do not need to forget their heritage nor give up their beliefs, but if you come to this country you should at least respect it and its values and not try to change them to your country of origin.

    Reply
  • S

    Stephen MarksFeb 21, 2024 at 10:27 pm

    Maybe they should talk the sacrifices of the many fallen patriots who help pave the way for these freedoms of choice we enjoy now.

    Reply
  • D

    DJFeb 21, 2024 at 9:29 pm

    This is why my kids will no longer go to public school. Sorry I know that minute of time spent on the Pledge of Allegiance could be used for something else like playing games like “what’s my gender?”

    Reply
    • A

      anomynousFeb 23, 2024 at 9:07 am

      womp womp not true

      Reply
    • J

      James JohnsonFeb 28, 2024 at 3:05 pm

      What an outrageous and small-minded thing to say. I hope you don’t model that hate for your children.

      Reply
  • J

    JohnFeb 21, 2024 at 9:19 pm

    Are you serious? If we truly want our country to be united the pledge is essential to be taught to children.

    The excuse that because the country is more diverse doesn’t hold water.
    People who come to America supposedly come to embrace our values and respect our culture. If they can’t
    they should grow a thicker skin and suck
    it up. This supposed ‘teacher’ should be ashamed of herself.
    I should mention that I am an immigrant and a wounded combat veteran. Speaking for myself, her attitude and reasoning offends me.

    Reply
    • J

      James JohnsonFeb 28, 2024 at 3:20 pm

      You are entitled to be offended just as much as they are entitled to their opinion. As a veteran who fought to protect those freedoms, you should know that.

      Reply
  • S

    Scholfield ReaFeb 21, 2024 at 6:29 pm

    The Flag observance and reciting the Pledge should not be stopped. Why change the original reasons it started still stands!!! Those coming to America should see Americans embrace their country values and freedoms!

    Reply
  • M

    MaxcudaFeb 21, 2024 at 6:01 pm

    We don’t have much pride anymore do we? This is why the younger generations are so lost, they don’t get taught about our rich and unique history, along with the pride and patriotism of living in the land of the free. All they get is cynicism, lies and disrespect due to the lack of being told the truth. While not perfect for sure, I wouldn’t live anywhere else, Old Glory!

    Reply
    • J

      Jose AguinadoFeb 22, 2024 at 11:15 am

      what is there to be proud of anymore… rent is half my budget, medicine still costs the rest. The truth is that the United states was founded on gsnocide and slavry, and america isnt worth being proud of

      Reply
      • U

        Uncle SamFeb 28, 2024 at 3:18 pm Knight Life Pick

        “Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson

        I hope you try hard at school/work, show up to vote, and are an active participant in your community. Can’t change history, but can change the future.

        Reply
    • J

      James JohnsonFeb 28, 2024 at 3:08 pm

      Have you any evidence other than anecdotes to support your claim that younger generations aren’t being taught history and patriotism? Blind patriotism is not in the curriculum, but as a history teacher I teach both about things for which we should be proud, things for which we should be ashamed, and everywhere in between. Anything else would just be propaganda, not history.

      “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” —James Baldwin

      Reply
  • C

    ColleenFeb 21, 2024 at 5:49 pm

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. Unbelievable. If you live here you need the American flag. I have a fondness for Great Britain as my relatives are from there but I’m an American and disagree with this 100%

    Reply
  • R

    RandyFeb 21, 2024 at 5:13 pm

    They both should be in the classroom it’s part of our American history.
    And it shows respect to the United States.

    Reply
  • M

    MaxFeb 21, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    Keep it in our American schools……..

    Reply
  • D

    David BFeb 21, 2024 at 3:32 pm

    How is the Pledge of Allegiance too long to recite in the classroom? It takes less than a minute.

    Reply
  • G

    GaryFeb 21, 2024 at 2:47 pm

    No matter how many different languages or countries that are coming here should have an influence on weather their is a n American flag in the classroom. These people are coming into our country for a better life, so the American flag should stay!!
    The people that are discouraged or feel that their is no place for a flag in the classroom should not be in the USA!

    Reply
    • U

      Uncle SamFeb 28, 2024 at 3:11 pm

      Hey everyone, Gary is in charge of who gets to stay in America now. Better put on your flag pins and “Back to back World War Champs” shirts and bow down.

      Just kidding, too many typos…better learn English if you want to stay, Gary!

      Reply
  • R

    RodgerDrueFeb 21, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    So what about all the various locations that the American flag is displayed, consider The White House, court house, National cemeteries , etc, would these young folks feel the same in those locations?

    Reply
    • J

      Jim AftermanFeb 22, 2024 at 10:36 am

      “hey, wat about entirely different situation in which this article doesn’t apply?”
      I cannot believe you actually thought you had a point here.

      Reply
  • V

    VickiFeb 21, 2024 at 1:08 pm

    American money pays your salary and you live here. You should thank America for being here. Any other place you would likely be jailed or just killed. You should show respect.

    Reply
    • R

      Robin ThompsonFeb 22, 2024 at 10:08 am

      What part of that means that we can’t have any criticism of America? It’s a great country, but it’s not without flaws.

      Reply
    • A

      Albert frondFeb 22, 2024 at 11:12 am

      do you think america is the only place with freedom of the press? just curious.

      Reply
    • R

      Rosie HillFeb 23, 2024 at 10:38 am

      this is a student-led newspaper so nobody is getting any salary from this

      Reply
    • U

      Uncle SamFeb 28, 2024 at 3:13 pm

      Vicki, go back to 1787 when “freedom of the press” was a new thing. It’s 2024, ma’am. For two thirds of America’s history, you couldn’t even vote, by the way.

      Reply