Friday, June 02, 2006

Pledge Requirement Unconstitutional

Judge Kenneth Ryskamp found a state law requiring students to recite the pledge unconstitutional. Here's the Palm Beach Post article by Rani Gupta:

A federal judge has declared a state law requiring students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, stating it violated the rights of a Palm Beach County student who sued the state last year. U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp also ruled unconstitutional the provision of the 1942 Florida law requiring students to obtain permission from their parents to be excused from reciting the pledge. The American Civil Liberties Union cheered Ryskamp's decision as a landmark ruling that upholds all Florida students' free speech rights. "The highest tradition of being an American is freedom of thought and freedom of speech," ACLU attorney James Green said Thursday. "Freedom of speech includes the right to speak and the right not to speak, and not to be forced to speak in a certain way." But conservative legislators decried the decision, which they said was an assault by "liberal" and "activist" judges on the beliefs of the majority. State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, called the decision "ludicrous." Fasano this year spearheaded an unsuccessful attempt to ask Florida voters to decide whether the state constitution should require students to stand and recite the pledge. Students would have needed a parent's permission to be excused. "What a federal judge has done is taken away patriotism from our schools," Fasano said.

Ryskamp was appointed by President Reagan.

3 comments:

dsgolburgh said...

Every morning in my classroom, a disembodied voice echoes from the speaker just above the chalkboard, "Please stand for the Pledge of Allegience." As the role model in the room, I am always sure to be the first one standing with hand on heart; however, it seems year after year that less and less students choose to heed the morning ritual.

The issue is this: do we force children to stand and say the pledge and thus turn it into a chore just to please the adult in the room, or do we allow students to make their own choices?

The issue of the pledge is really a much deeper issue. Public schools today are no longer teaching students about democracy. The pride we have in our country is born from an understanding of the price of freedom and the right to stand up for that freedom that does not exist in other countries.

If students in Amercian schools were taught how to live and participate in a democracy, of the rights and freedoms that a democracy presents, then the issue of the pledge would be a non issue. Unless the real issues are taught, as schools should be teaching, the pledge is just another chore for kids forced upon them by adults.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic comment that was from the school teacher! It makes me glad to hear that our Florida schools still have thoughtful, elightened teachers like this. Contrast that with the knee-jerk right-wing morons who accuse any judge who rules in a manner they don't like as a "liberal activist." Anyone who knows Judge Ryskamp at all knows that label --which is pretty stupid to affix to any federal judge -- certainly doesn't apply to him. I score this legal bout as follows: Teachers & the First Amendment ONE, Idiotic Right-Wing Jerks ZERO.

hotpepperman9 said...

There is a saying that rings true:

"A person convinced against their
will, is of the same opinion still."

There are those whose religious beliefs, hold with the words of
Exodus 20:4 (the fourth commandment), not to engage in idol
worship. People who are patriotic
can say what they will, but when you pledge your love, loyalty and all to an object (flag worship goes
way back in history), that is idol
worship. The Romans used to carry their idols and statues on poles, got too heavy so they put the images on cloth, and still paid homage to them with flag worship.

Many folks do not realize it, but
the Jehovah's Witnesses went before
the Supreme Court of the U.S. roughly 26 times during WW2 alone
to secure this part of civil rights for, not only their religion, but all religions in this
country. To many JW's, it is not the standing that violates their concience in a school room setting,
it is the pledging your all to an
object.

IF you force someone to go against
their beliefs, WHAT have you accomplished???? A pledge that is only from the teeth out? Not from the heart?? Does this make them a
better citizen?? NO!! You have coerced, or forced them through some law, or fear to do something that violates their deeply held
religious convictions. IT IS NOT
FROM THEIR HEARTS, IT IS FALSE.

A person who wishes to show proper
respect to the flag, endevors to
obey the laws of the land to the best of their ability, as long as those man made laws do not violate
God's laws.

How many people will go to a ball game, stand for the National Anthem
and then go out and violate a law,
that afternoon, night, etc.?? Or some school child patrioticaly say
the pledge, then that same kid go out and vandalize something, or get into trouble by violating some law? The point is: the pledge satisfies some emotional feelings
for those who engage in patriotic
services, but does not mean a thing
if they turn around violate the laws of the land. It is just from
the teeth out, NOT from the heart.

So once again: "A person convinced
against their will, is of the same
opinion still....."