ANTHONY WATSON: Maryland elementary school stops requiring students to say the Pledge of Allegiance

Maryland Elementary School has decided to stop requiring students to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance after criticism that the mandate constituted “mandatory patriotism.”

Initially, school officials sent an email to staff in April stating that the Pledge of Allegiance was mandatory for all students and teachers, in accordance with state education code, which required them to stand, face the flag, give an approved salute, and recite the pledge in unison.

The nonprofit organization Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) challenged the school’s stance, arguing that it violated the First Amendment. FIRE contended that the school failed to inform students and staff of their right to opt out of the pledge.

“The First Amendment protects not only your right to express yourself, but also the right to refrain from doing so. That includes refusing to salute the flag. Mandatory patriotism is no patriotism at all,” said FIRE Senior Program Officer Stephanie Jablonsky.

In response to the pushback, school officials sent another email in May, acknowledging that “any student or teacher who wishes to be excused from the requirements of subsection (c)(3) of this section shall be excused.”

One Maryland mother joined Fox & Friends to talk about the school’s decision, stating she was “not surprised.”

“I do believe that everybody should stand for the pledge. I do understand that some people have religious beliefs that makes them have a difference from it, and that makes sense. I think that that should be the only exception that there is from it. But I really, honestly don’t understand why people have a problem standing and saying the pledge in this country,” the mother told Fox News on Friday.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

Image: Title: twin ridge elementary