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Brookline Town Meeting takes stand for Pledge in the classroom

Posted by Brock Parker  November 17, 2011 10:11 PM

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Brookline Town Meeting Thursday shot down an effort to shift the Pledge of Allegiance out of the classroom and into group assemblies.

By a vote of 95 to 76, with nine members abstaining, the meeting voted against the proposal, which also would have asked the Brookline School Committee to give principals control of Pledge of Allegiance practices in their schools.

Town Meeting member Martin Rosenthal, who is also a co-chair of activist group Brookline Pax, had been a leader of the effort to change the district policy on the pledge, which he called a loyalty oath in which some children feel pressured into reciting while in the “fishbowl” of the classroom.

The School Committee approved a policy in the spring requiring principals to allow a weekly recitation of the pledge during morning announcements. Participation in the recitations is left up to the individuals at the schools.

School Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Stone said the district has never heard any reports of bullying resulting from the pledge.

While opponents to the policy argued decisions about the pledge should be left up to school principals, Stone said the school district did not need to expose principals at each school to “potentially vitriolic” debate about whether the pledge should be recited.

--Brock.globe@gmail.com

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