« The Daily Dose

Meaning of Pledge transcends government policies

by Greg Belfrage

A student at a Texas high school received a two-day in-school suspension for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mason Michalec tells KHOU that he refused to stand for the pledge because he's opposed to NSA surveillance and government spying. Read the KHOU story HERE .

The school's actions have ignited a national debate on whether the school violated the 15-year-old boy's rights.

Unfortuntately, the school chose to enforce the principal's rule on standing instead of taking time to teach the boy. It's sad that schools sometimes get so hung up on enforcing rules that they miss such wonderful teaching moments.

Michalec was well within his rights to sit during the Pledge. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that no student can be required to say the Pledge. In this case, I suspect its very likely the court would find the school was forcibly requiring the boy to participate by standing.

The boy's decision to sit wasn't an issue or distraction until the teacher made it one.

Having said that, I think the boy's view of the Pledge is wrong.

During George W. Bush's presidency and the war in Iraq...there were college students across the country protesting that the American flag was hanging in classrooms. They wanted the flag removed.

Frankly, I do not understand the thought process of those who view the flag, or the pledge, as a reflection on the current president or federal government policies.

In my view, the flag and the pledge transcend such temporary things.The flag embodies the ideals on which the country was founded...life, liberty and justice for all.

As a nation, we often fall short of those ideals. However, the flag and Pledge are reminders that we should be striving for greater things and a brighter future for our country.

Instead of enforcing an arbitrary rule to stand, why not teach this boy respect for the Constitution and the liberties it protects? Make him aware of the blood of that's been spilled to safeguard his freedom of speech.

It makes a lot more sense than galvanizing his opposition to the Pledge by suspending him from school.

Greg Belfrage @belfrageshow is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.