In response to a letter from the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the New Town Public School District in New Town, North Dakota, agreed to allow a student to remain seated during the school’s daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“All students have the right to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance, and we’re pleased that the school has agreed to uphold that right,” said David Niose, legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
On September 12, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the school district on behalf of parents Jesse Moore and Kristina Leiffer, whose six-year-old son had been reprimanded by his teacher for exercising his right to refrain from participating in the school’s Pledge exercise. The couple contacted the AHLC through the website DontSaythePledge.com. When the boy opted to sit quietly at his seat in an undisruptive manner, his teacher insisted that he stand and even physically forced him from his chair. However, the school district has now informed the legal center that the child may remain seated in the classroom during recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance and that he will not be punished for doing so.
“In allowing students to exercise their right to sit out the Pledge, the school district is respecting all children, including humanist and other nontheist children who may object to the phrase ‘under God,’” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.