Parents fuming over Pledge of Allegiance 'waiver'

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Todd Starnes - Guest Columnist

Todd StarnesFlorida's Pledge of Allegiance waiver shouldn't surprise those who are keeping up with the attack on patriotism in our public school system. What is surprising, though, is who's responsible for it.

At first Micah Brienen thought his sister-in-law's text message was a joke.

"I was immediately shocked by it," Mr. Brienen, of Bonita Springs, Florida, told me. "I thought it was a fake."

But the text message was not a fake – it was the real deal.

It was a Pledge of Allegiance waiver from his niece's public school in Tallahassee:

"I understand my rights as a parent and I request that my child, noted above, be excused from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This request includes standing and placing his/her right hand over his/her heart."

His sister-in-law returned the form to the school with the following message: "This is the dumbest thing I have ever read and I am so ashamed of this."

Now Mr. Brienen is not one to post political stuff on his social networking pages – but when he saw the Pledge of Allegiance waiver – he could not resist.

"I thought it was definitely something that needed to be out on social media," he told me.

He posted an image of the waiver on Facebook and wrote the following:

"My niece brought this home from school today ... What is happening to our country?!?"

His message took off faster than Michael Phelps in a kiddie pool – and late yesterday it landed on my desk.

"I believe it's another stop in the progressive political movement to destroy the education system," Mr. Brienen told me. "We have a lot of American values and traditions that seem to be whittling away."

That's true – but you might be surprised to learn who was ultimately responsible for the waiver. It wasn't far left Democrats. It was Republicans.

"This is a response to a Florida law voted on by the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott," said Chris Petley, the spokesman for Leon County Schools.

Specifically, he was referring to Florida Statue 1003.44. That law dictates "to all school districts in Florida that, 'each student shall be informed by a written notice published in the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s. 1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge."

In other words, don't blame Leon County Schools.

"We are required to comply with the law," he replied.

Republicans signed off on that, folks. Republicans. Lord Almighty. That's like finding a hair on a biscuit.

Mr. Brienen, who voted for Gov. Scott, said he still opposes the Pledge waiver.

"If we don't make a stand now – we might not have the Pledge of Allegiance in school," he said. "What's next, removing the flags? It's only the beginning."

Florida's Pledge of Allegiance waiver should not come as a surprise to readers of this column. I've long documented the attack on patriotism in our public school system.

It won't be long before kids will need a Notary Public before they can sing the national anthem or wave Old Glory.

George Washington is probably looking down from Heaven – shaking his head and wondering, "I crossed the Delaware for this?"

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter and find him on Facebook.

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