Give 12 Seconds for the Pledge

Allison Wagner and lakecentralnews

Twelve Seconds. Twelve seconds is all it takes to say the Pledge of Allegiance, I timed it. Factor in a brief moment of silence and you are looking at 20 seconds taken from class time. Yet, we no longer say the pledge as a school; we say it individually in the classroom, or are supposed to.

“We say the Pledge [as a school] on Mondays. Every teacher is supposed to start it every other day of the week to start the period off. This is to hopefully allow the teacher to have more ownership of this time instead of waiting for the office. We get busy with phone calls and students and we don’t want to delay the start of the day for anybody,” Mr. Robin Tobias, principal, said.

The intent of the new pledge ritual is a way for teachers to have the ability to jump start their day since the office would often wait a minute or two to start the pledge. It also frees up the pressure on the office.

Indiana code 20-30-5-0.5 states, “The governing body of each school corporation shall provide a daily opportunity for students of the school corporation to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in each classroom or on school grounds.”

Technically the opportunity is being granted, but it is not effectively exercised throughout the school. With over 100 teachers in the school, it is nearly impossible to ensure every teacher is following the new rule of saying the pledge in the morning.

I conducted a poll to see how many students, out of 333, are actually starting their day by saying the pledge. I asked the following question: Are you saying the Pledge of Allegiance, every day, in your 1st and 5th hour classes. 100 said yes, they say it everyday, and 233 said no, not every day.

I believe no longer saying the pledge as a school was a poor choice. The choice has left many classrooms no longer given the opportunity to pledge allegiance to our country. Worse yet, men and women are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we can no longer offer a moment of silence as a school to show our respect.

In order to give us the opportunity and promise to say the pledge, a new system must be put in place. Recognizing that the office is busy, a student could be appointed to lead the student body in the pledge, daily. The pressure would be taken off the office and students would, once again, be able to exercise their right to say the pledge and honor our soldiers.