The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Students Can not be Compelled to Stand for the Pledge

School Districts and their employees may not enforce any type of requirement on students that they stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Asking for parental consent for students to be excused from standing is such a requirement that is prohibited.

In Lipp v. Morris, 579 F.2d 834 (3rd cir. 1978), the court held that, “[t]his mandatory condition upon the student’s right not to participate in the flag salute ceremony is an unconstitutional requirement that the student engage in a form of speech and may not be enforced" (emphasis added). The policy that the court struck down in this case was a New Jersey statute that required students to “show full respect to the flag while the pledge is being given . . . by standing at attention.” In Goetz v. Ansell, 477 F.2d 636, 638 (2nd cir. 1973), the court held that silent non-disruptive expression of belief by sitting down during the Pledge may not be prohibited. In addition, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that states could mandate that the pledge be recited but did so on the basis that "no pupil was compelled to recite the Pledge, to stand during the Pledge or place his hand over his heart, or to leave if he would not join in, and that no one was penalized in any way for remaining silent and seated." Sherman v. Community Consolidated School District 21 of Wheeling Township, 980 F.2d 437 (7th Cir. 1992).


Post a Comment

<< Home