A presentation telling students that they have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because it's the law has caused controversy at a Texas high school, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Juniors and seniors at Midland High School were given a presentation on the Pledge of Allegiance earlier this month, with a slide saying it's the law to stand during the pledge and stay silent during the moment of silence, KOSA reported.
“It's basically a law,” Seth Ortega told KOSA. “We need to stand to respect our country, and those who died.”
A 1943 Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia -- West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette -- protects students from having to say the pledge.
Lacy Sperry, executive director of communications for Midland ISD, told the Chronicle that the slide "was taken out of context" and that school administrators have addressed the issue.
"According to the Texas Education Code, Sec. 25.082, we are required to have students recite the U.S. pledge and the Texas pledge at least once a day, and we are required to have a moment of silence following the recitation of pledges," Sperry said via email. "As a protocol, we ask students to stand and remain standing. We honor any parental request for students to opt-out of the recitation of the pledge on any of our campuses."
According to the Texas Education Code, the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence is required from students daily. Students' parents or guardians can give written permission to have their children excluded.
A week after the controversy began, the Midland ISD released a second statement:
"Midland ISD received an inquiry from CBS 7 regarding a slide included in a PowerPoint presentation to Midland High School students this week. The information included in the slide if viewed out of context is confusing. However the slide was used as part of a presentation to students detailing the activities during the school day. Texas Law from the Texas Education Code - EDUC § 25.082. School Day; Pledges of Allegiance; Minute of Silence, requires the inclusion of the pledges and moment of silence during the school day. However it is not a mandate for every student. MISD policy includes provisions for parents to request their child be excluded from participating. Once again, nothing has changed. The PowerPoint slide was part of a presentation and described to the audience. Campus administrators have reviewed the slide and rearranged the text to ensure that no one else is confused by the contents of the slide."
Comments supporting and opposing the presentation could be found on KOSA’s Facebook page.
"This is pure propaganda. There is no law stating that you must stand for the pledge of allegiance. This is actually against your freedom of speech. I can choose to stand or not stand," Jayson Brown commented on KOSA’s Facebook page.
“You have the right to kneel but it's disrespectful to all the people who have died and suffered to give you that right,” Steve Benner said on Facebook..
"The pledge is a lovely patriotic poem, but is not embedded in our legal nor political systems at all except as a cultural expression of our love of country," Joanna Tousley-Escalante wrote.
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