By Aiden Hills, staff writer

NOVEMBER 2022 — Pledge of Allegiance Day (Pledge Day) is a national holiday that takes place Dec. 28; it commemorates the date when Congress first accepted The Pledge of Allegiance into the United States Flag Code in 1945.

Despite not saying The Pledge, Bio-Med classrooms have American flags hung in most classrooms, like this one in the classroom of Integrated Math 10 instructor, Melissa Cairns. Cairns has previously taught in schools that said The Pledge in the morning. “It should be a matter of choice anyway, so even if we did do it [at Bio-Med], it would not be something I forced my students to do,” she said. “That flag was already there when I came here. I probably wouldn’t [have] put it up, but I don’t feel so strongly that I would take it down.” Photo by Aiden Hills, staff writer.

Jeremy Bellamy is credited with writing The Pledge of Allegiance Sept. 8, 1892. It was first published anonymously by a magazine called “The Youth’s Companion”that catered to young people. It was originally written with the hope that citizens of any country would say it.  

The Pledge has changed multiple times from its original form, which read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The first change came in 1923, when “my flag” was replaced with “the flag of The United States Of America.”

The most recent change occurred in 1954 when Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that added “under God.” He decided to add this due to the threat of communism.

With this change, The pledge now reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Pledge of Allegiance is said in the mornings in most American schools, but it is not required. This was established by the 1943 case West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, where the U.S. Supreme Court determined that students have the First Amendment right to not recite it.

Bio-Med Science Academy has not established a tradition of reciting The Pledge of Allegiance. Although Bio-Med hasn’t made a practice of saying the pledge daily, it still has American flags in most classrooms.

Charmayne Polen, the 10-12th grade chief operating officer and principal, explained why, saying, “It’s just kind of a tradition for most schools. We decided to have them, because it gives autonomy to teachers and students who’d want to do the pledge.”

 “I don’t care,” said 11th-grade student Bristol White. “There’s nothing I gain from pledging my allegiance to the flag.”

Lauren Coates, an 11th-grader, agreed, saying, “I‘m glad that we don’t do it. Nothing’s different without it. It’s a waste of time.”

Aidan Grishaber, another junior, expanded on this.

“I think it’s a waste of time, because the country should know that we care about it.” He continued, “It‘s forcing kids to [pledge] under God, which is against religious beliefs. We have the First Amendment right to believe in what we want and the pledge is requiring kids to say that the country is under God, [and] that’s not everybody’s belief.”

Zach Phillips, a 10-grade student disagreed, saying, “I think it’s a really great thing. It makes us united as a country, and it makes me feel a part of the country.”

He continued his thoughts on performing the pledge in schools: “I think it’s an important thing since there is a decently large demographic of kids here that would enjoy doing it. It should be implemented in every school including this one.”

It is tradition for individuals to put their right hand over their heart during the pledge as a sign of respect. It is also a common practice for men to take off their hats during the pledge, even if they didn’t serve in the military. 

The same Supreme Court ruling of West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, that ruled that students do not have to recite the pledge states that students don’t have to stand for it either. It states that

“Students who objected to the flag salute and mandatory Pledge recitation for religious reasons could not be forced to participate.” 

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