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School Board sends mixed message on pledge

by Greg Belfrage

The Sioux Falls School Board has been embroiled in controversy for weeks over a recent vote on the Pledge of Allegiance.

A group of veterans recently approached the board and asked them to require the pledge in all Sioux Falls schools. At the time, only elementary school students were required to say the pledge each day.

The board voted to expand the daily pledge requirement to middle schools. However, they declined to do the same in high schools. Board members said the logistics of the high school schedule made it far too difficult to say the pledge each day.

The board's decision ignited national outrage and resulted in death threats against board members. 

As we recently reported... the controversy prompted board members to survey district parents about the pledge. Board members learned that 70 percent of those surveyed were in favor of the pledge being said in high schools every day.

As a result of the survey, the board reversed course. Members approved the pledge and the new policy will go into effect after the Thanksgiving holiday.

I applaud the board for polling parents on the issue. They deserve credit for responding to the controversy in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

However, this week's decision raises a nagging question. How is it possible for high school kids to say the pledge now... when the board said it wasn't possible just two weeks ago?

This week's vote seems to indicate that the biggest obstacle to saying the pledge wasn't the high school schedule, but the reluctance of administrators and board members to make it happen.

I'm grateful to board members for correcting the error. However, it would have been better for everyone if they had simply done the right thing in the first place.

Greg Belfrage is heard mornings 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.