Updated: CHS Student Stands for Right to Sit During Pledge—Your Thoughts?
Weigh in on whether Collingswood High's Chelsea Stanton is right to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance.
It's a familiar scene in classrooms across America—students stand each morning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But one Collingswood student recently stood up for her right not to stand.
Chelsea Stanton, a senior at Collingswood High School, decided to opt out of the pledge, according to CBS Philly. Stanton, 19, told the news channel that the pledge doesn't "respect me" because she is an atheist. She takes exception to the line "one nation, under God," the report said.
After being threatened with disciplinary action (editor's note: see update below), Stanton is in the clear. The school district's code of conduct says students must still stand even if they don't recite the pledge, but the U.S. Court of Appeals has previously ruled that requiring students to stand is unconstitutional.
Superintendent Scott Oswald sided with Stanton's rights and said the code of conduct may be revised over the summer.
Update, 11:58 a.m., June 7: Superintendent Scott Oswald tells Patch that Stanton never faced disciplinary action for her stance and raised the issue in a respectful manner with school authorities.
"She raised the issue months ago (and) we checked with our solicitor on whether she needed to stand and learned the answer was no. It's the first time in my career the sit versus stand issue has been raised, so I wanted to make sure we were not infringing upon anyone's rights. To my understanding, she remains seated in a respectful manner during the pledge each morning.
There has been no discipline administered and we appreciate the student's willingness to bring this to our attention. Our policy will not need to be changed after all as it is consistent with the court decision. We will change the wording in our handbook to better reflect policy, which essentially means we will remove the word 'stand.'
I believe most Americans, including students and staff in Collingswood, will continue to honor our country and the men and women who fought to protect our freedoms in the traditional manner to which most of us have become accustomed."
What do you think: Should Chelsea Stanton be required to stand silently or be allowed to sit during the pledge?