Students peacefully protest, sit for Pledge

Christine Odwesso, Staff writer

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Something was different on Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election in junior Alfonso Gonzalez and Nicole Nyamongo’s French class — no one stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I think people were sitting because of the outcome of the elections,” Nyamongo said. “They believe Hillary should have won simply because she had more [popular] votes, and they were exercising their right to choose. People were doing it as a silent protest. If you think about it, veterans and the military fought for our right to protest.”

There has been much national debate as of late about sitting during the Pledge, which many view as an act of sacrilege and especially disgraceful to America’s veterans.

‘’I think [sitting during the Pledge] is inherently disrespectful to armed forces and the nation. Plus, most people don’t know why they’re doing [it],” sophomore Ethan Story said.

Administration was not available for comment at press time. However, the Allen High School Handbook allows students to be excused from reciting the Pledge if they turn in parent permission to an administrator as part of the Texas Constitution.

“A board shall require students, once during each school day, to recite the pledges of allegiance to the United States and Texas flags,” according to Education Code 25.081(e), .082. “On written request from a student’s parent or guardian, a district shall excuse the student from reciting a pledge of allegiance.”

“I never stand for the Pledge,” Gonzalez said. “I haven’t since last year because of all the racial injustices that have been going on. It’s not much of a protest as it is common sense. In the Pledge it says, ‘liberty and justice for all,’ and if that’s not happening then why should I stand?”

Gonzalez and Nyamongo agree that in the wake of the recent election, the divisions in our country have become more evident. The results have sparked numerous protests across the nation from students sitting down during the Pledge at AHS to an 8,000 people march against Trump in the streets of Los Angeles.

“As soon as he was elected, we started hearing stories about people—even some close to home in Plano—about kids pulling hijabs off girls’ heads,” Gonzalez said. “White kids were telling black kids they should go pick cotton. People who were secretly racist [now] think it’s okay to go express their hate, and that’s wrong.”

Some people do not see the the point of protesting after the election.  

“I don’t know why you would protest the results of an election. It’s a democratic process. Donald Trump won whether you like it or not, he’s your president and you have to accept that,” Story said. “I have no problem with protesting. I just don’t think sitting down for the Pledge is the right way to go about it. ”  

Gonzalez believes that if someone doesn’t want to stand for the Pledge, they shouldn’t ignore injustice.  

“If [not standing is] disrespectful to you, then you stand,” Gonzalez said. “But I think you have to treat all citizens with respect. It’s not the biggest way people will hear about [an issue],  but it’s something you can do if you’re not satisfied with what’s going on.”

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