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December 27, 2005

Seventeen-year-old fights Florida pledge law

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel...

Cameron Frazier's refusal to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at Boynton Beach High School is sparking a Constitutional battle against his teacher and the Palm Beach County School Board.

Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the 17-year-old junior claims in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that he was ridiculed and punished Dec. 8 when he twice refused to stand for the pledge during his fourth-period algebra class.

Citing the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Frazier is challenging the school district and Florida law that require students to show written permission from their parents before declining to recite the pledge. The Boynton Beach teenager, who had e-mailed the ACLU seeking help, also wants unspecified damages and legal fees....

The district abides by the state law, which requires the pledge be recited at the beginning of the day at all elementary, middle and high schools, he said. A notice is supposed to be posted in a conspicuous place telling students that they can be exempt from the pledge with written request from a parent. But even then, students must stand for it, Harrington said.

The Pledge of Allegiance is meaning less if it's not voluntary. It should never be required of anyone. Nevertheless the battle in other places is not about it being required but it being allowed at all. Florida needs to back off on this one and acknowledge that students have the right to not say it. At the same time the kid and his lawyers are going overboard in their demands. Simply change the law and be done with it. No sense in bankrupting the school because one teacher wanted to be a bully.

Posted by Danny Carlton at December 27, 2005 07:32 AM

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