Group Calls to Ban Pledge of Allegiance at Massachusetts Schools, Citing No Educational Value

Days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 a leader from a group in Massachusetts is calling on public schools in one town to ban students from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, saying it has no educational value and the pressure it places on children to participate makes his “skin crawl,” The Boston Globe reported.

Martin Rosenthal, the co-chair of Brookline Political Action for Peace, or Brookline Pax, told the paper the pledge puts “kids in an uncomfortable situation” and doesn’t belong in schools.

The group, therefore, will ask town meeting voters in November to pass a nonbinding resolution on the ban in area public schools.

The pledge is recited once a week in Brookline public schools. It is said during morning announcements and children are afforded the opportunity to not participate.

Supporters of the ban say these children are often criticized by classmates and the ban would help stop the bullying.

But the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 is nearing, and criticism for the resolution has been swift.

Christie Coombs, a mother whose husband died on American Airlines Flight 11 during the attacks of Sept. 11, told The Boston Herald that the idea makes her “sick to her stomach.”

“America has been through a lot with the bad economy and soldiers dying in Afghanistan on a weekly basis, but we’ve pulled back together. A majority of Americans are proud to pay tribute to the flag,” she told the Herald.

Rebecca Stone, the school committee chairwoman, agreed that the pledge is “not of great educational value” but said, “We’re recognizing established and, in some cases, revered practices of the citizenry,” according to The Globe. “There is something to that in the public schools.”'

Stone said she doesn’t anticipate the school committee reconsidering its current policy, The Globe reported.

Rosenthal, meanwhile, told the Herald that he's not being unpatriotic; rather, he is “standing up for what’s great about this country.”

Joe Colantoni, a Korean War veteran, responded in the paper: “Tell him he’s full of (expletive).”

Click here for more from The Boston Herald.

Click here for more from The Boston Globe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.