SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Middle school students in Sioux Falls will be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis, but that mandate will not be expanded to high school students. That's upsetting to some military veterans.
Army veteran James Boorman had asked that the daily recitation of the pledge be expanded from elementary schools to the higher levels. The School Board on Tuesday night approved the expansion to the middle schools but not to high schools — where the pledge is said during school-wide assemblies — citing the daily flurry of activity at that level.
"At the high school level, there isn't always an opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day," board member Kate Parker said. "They don't have homeroom, but they do have assemblies, and the principals that were in the discussion with us talked about the assemblies and how it's a much more somber moment during their assemblies when everyone is in the room."
Boorman said having all students take a few seconds each day to recite the pledge would pay respect to those who have defended freedom.
"Such reflections help us appreciate not only the veterans, but the freedoms we enjoy as a consequence of their service," he said. "Taking time to reflect on how we are doing with our use of freedom helps us to appreciate all the more where it comes from, and the heavy price that is paid to defend and sustain it."
Board members said not requiring high school students to say the pledge is not meant as disrespect to military veterans.
"We say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every school board, just to honor the country, but in high school they get so busy, it's hard to pick out what period each kid will start and where they'll be at," board President Doug Morrison said.