By Tennyson Anderson-Stricklin
Recent events such as BLM and the constant push for freedom of expression have begun to gain traction in youth culture at Heritage. One recently controversial tradition is the Pledge of Allegiance. Many Heritage students are choosing not to stand for the Pledge, which presents a few conflicting perspectives.
Grace Blackstock, a sophomore, speaks on the continued expectation of students to stand for the Pledge. “It’s just an expectation that you do it and listen to it. The people who don’t stand have a clear message they’re trying to get across.”
Grace is glad that Heritage is such an accepting environment when it comes to student expression, and went on to address schools in which standing for the Pledge may be enforced. “Trying to control people’s bodies if they’re doing no harm to themselves or others would be unreasonable,” states Blackstock, ’25.
An opposing opinion on this topic comes from Mr. Johnson. He explains that although students’ rights should be respected and there should remain no outright requirement to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, it should endure as an expectation because it is crucial to raising a grateful and patriotic generation of Americans.
“While the Pledge is not ‘academic’, the purpose of a public education goes far beyond just teaching content. We are also helping shape citizens of this country. The Pledge teaches students just some of the very basics of what this country stands on: that we are ‘one nation, indivisible… with liberty and justice for all,’” Johnson states.
Furthermore, the lack of obligation to stand or recite the Pledge ensures that students’ freedoms are respected. Mr. Johnson mentions, “The beautiful thing is that not a single person in our school is required to stand for the pledge. During my 9 years at Heritage, and to my knowledge, no student at Heritage has EVER been forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. This freedom; to listen, to ignore, to stand, to sit, is the beauty of what our country, AND our Pledge stand for.”
The Pledge of Allegiance became a routine in schools in the 1890s to mark the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America. Now, in the 50th year of Heritage High School and over a hundred years after the initiation of the Pledge, circumstances have changed greatly.
It is clear that Heritage has dealt well with changing circumstances in politics, the media, the educational system, and society as a whole in the past 50 years. Respect of individual freedoms are of the utmost importance, yet respect for our nation is absolutely crucial to maintaining a functional country through future generations.