A North Dakota school board has nixed reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before each meeting — deciding it didn’t align with the district’s values.
The Fargo School Board voted 7-2 Tuesday to drop the Pledge from the start of its bi-weekly meetings because members didn’t feel it was inclusive, apparently taking issue with the phrase: “under God,” according to North Dakota newspaper Inforum.
Board member Seth Golden said that because “the word ‘God’ in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized … the text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian god and therefore, it does not include any other faith such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of which are practiced by our staff and students.”
Holden also said it excluded those in Fargo schools who don’t believe in god. He claimed he is not against the Pledge itself, but that it can’t be said in a school committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, Inforum reported.
Member Robin Nelson, who voted to keep the Pledge, didn’t see anything wrong with reciting it.
Former Board member David Paulson, who proposed the Pledge be said in the meetings back when he served on the body, said his former colleagues were “misinterpreting” the recitation.
“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,” he said.
In March, the board passed a motion to kick off each meeting with the Pledge.
Board President Tracie Newman suggested member instead recite “a shared statement of purpose that would bring us all together” at the start of the meetings, in lieu of the Pledge. She said that would be “unifying.”
“I’m just not sure that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a useful way to begin every one of our board meetings,” Newman said.
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