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Winston-Salem Fosyth County School Board Takes Pledge Options Off The Table

11:42 PM, Dec 13, 2011   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- A Triad school board was schedule to hear a heated debate on students opting to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance in class. However, when the meeting started, the topic was quickly removed from the agenda, silencing the issue.

Tuesday night, the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School Board was scheduled to discuss and vote on a new policy that would have permitted students to stay seated during the pledge, if they so choose.

Instead, Theo Helm, spokesperson for the school system, told WFMY News 2 a board member motioned to removed the item from the agenda and with enough support the discussion was over.

Helm said the policy will stay as is. Students can opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance for religious reasons.

Earlier in the day, Helm told WFMY Reporter Patrick Phillippi that the new policy on the table was is a response to the threat of lawsuits, according to Helm. "Classes will still say the pledge every day, but we have to be aware of court rulings and things like that to make sure every one is treated fairly," said Helm.

Helm says a parent complained to the school on behalf of her child, and after the schools lawyers looked at their policy, decided they should look into changing it.

The school's current policy allows students to opt out of saying the pledge, but only for religious reasons. All students are required to stand, even if they opt out of saying the pledge.

Under the new policy, students would have been allowed to sit during the pledge as well as opt out of saying the pledge.

In downtown Winston-Salem, residents feelings on the new measure were mixed, with some in favor and some opposed. Elizabeth Madaus said, "I don't think that children should be forced to or just because of religious reasons because if it's only because of religious reasons than you are singling people out for religious reasons. So, I think that they pledge should be a choice between children and parents."

Falini Shah told News 2 she grew up saying the pledge every day in school and, "I feel like it is a privilege living here. I feel like my parents are lucky to be here, I feel like I'm very lucky to be here with everything I have, and I feel like just saying the pledge kinda reminds me of that."

If the school board approves the preliminary measure in Tuesday night's meeting, the issue heads to a final vote in January. If approved then, it becomes the new policy.

WFMY News 2

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