COSTA MESA, Calif. – Student leaders at a community college voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance after a tense meeting in which one flag-waving pledge supporter berated them as anti-American radicals.
Orange Coast College's student trustees voted Wednesday not to recognize the pledge, with three of the five board members saying it should be dropped from their meetings.
Board member Jason Ball argued that the pledge inspires nationalism, violates the separation between church and state with the phrase "under God," and is irrelevant to the business of student government. He cited a 2002 San Francisco federal appeals court ruling — later dismissed by the Supreme Court on a technicality — that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
Sophomore Chris Belanger, one of several students who attended the meeting to support keeping the pledge, waved an American flag and accused the board of "radical views and anti-Americanism."
Coast Community College District spokeswoman Martha Parham said the decision was up to the students.
"They run their own show, so to speak," she said.