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School superintendent explains Pledge of Allegiance and ‘moment of silence’ policy

This week the Southside Sentinel asked Middlesex School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor to clarify the school system’s policy on saying the Pledge of Allegiance and having a moment of silence in classrooms each morning.

“Our protocol for each morning in each of our schools is to have morning announcements shared over our public address system and to have the entire school pause for a ‘moment of silence’ followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,” said Dr. Taylor.

“The prompt for the Pledge of Allegiance each morning is, ‘Please stand for the Pledge to the Flag,’ and then someone recites the Pledge of Allegiance over the public address system,” said Dr. Taylor. “During the Pledge our students exercise their rights to either say (or not say) the Pledge (as protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution). Forcing our students to stand and say the Pledge would be a violation of their Constitutional rights,” continued Taylor. 

“It is not required by state law that the Pledge and moment of silence be over the intercom, but only that they be performed. We do this over the intercom for two reasons: (1) we ensure that it gets done with consistency; and (2) efficiency,” said Dr. Taylor. 

“We teach the Pledge to our students and we encourage participation when and where appropriate, and our teachers expect appropriate behavior from their students during both the moment of silence and the Pledge,” said Dr. Taylor.

posted 09.18.2013

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