School Board in Fargo, North Dakota Cancels Pledge of Allegiance

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    The Fargo, North Dakota, school board has ruled that saying the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t align with their diversity code.

    The 7-2 vote was a reversal of a previous motion to open their meetings by reciting the Pledge.

    During the first vote on the motion to read the Pledge, the school board members were reported to be struggling with “concerns over divisiveness” which resulted in “lengthy debate.”

    School board member Seth Holden said the Pledge does not align with the district's equity, diversity, and inclusion policy since the Pledge contains “under God.”

    “Given that the word ‘God' in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized,” the member explained. “The text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian god and therefore, it does not include any other face such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of which are practiced by our staff and students at FPS.”

    Holden feels that Atheists and Agnostics are not included in the Pledge and he considers the recitation as a “non-inclusionary act.”

    When the board passed the motion that required the recitation of the Pledge, Holden said, “not every single person in this country has liberty and justice.”

    “We live in a diverse community and that is what matters,” Nyamai Dei, another board member, is an immigrant who feels the fact that Americans come from “all walks of life” is “most important,” according to Inforum.

    Former board member David Paulson, who originally suggested that the school board recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of meetings, spoke before the school board and asked them to keep the tradition.

    “We are misinterpreting the Pledge of Allegiance,” Paulson declared. “The pledge isn't a show of our patriotism, it's an affirmation of our commitment and our loyalty to the greater cause, and that greater cause is freedom.”

    The School Board's President Tracie Newman feels the Pledge is a “divisive issue” but has “no strong feelings either way.”

    “I'm just not sure that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a useful way to begin every one of our board meetings,” she stated.

    Newman declared that she “would much prefer that we open our meetings with a shared statement of purpose that would bring us all together to do the work of the board.”

    “Rather than starting our meeting on opposing sides of an issue, I'd rather us start by saying something unifying,” Newman stated.

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