By: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 9, 2018
ATLANTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- A school in Atlanta which had previously announced it would not be saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the day has clarified their statement after public outcry.
Lia Santos, the Governing Board Chair of the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, released a statement clarifying that change was not to take the Pledge out of the school day, but rather to move it from an all-school meeting into individual classrooms.
You can see the full statement below.
"Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School has and will continue to provide students with an opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each school day. In the past, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited during our all-school morning meeting, but at the start of the school year, the daily practice was moved to classrooms. This change was done in compliance with state law [O.C.G.A. 20-2-310 (c)(1)] and aligned Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School with most other schools in the state who also say the Pledge of Allegiance in individual classrooms. However, it appears there was some miscommunication and inconsistency in the rollout. Starting next week, we will return to our original format and provide our students with the opportunity to recite the Pledge during the all-school morning meeting.
At ANCS, our priority is to provide our students with a safe and dynamic learning environment where they cultivate a love for learning, develop self-knowledge, and are constantly challenged to excel. We support our students in their growth and see it as our duty as educators to respect their First Amendment rights.
We are working together with the school administration to ensure we address concerns and feedback from our school family, while continuing to uphold and support the rights of every member of our school community.
Lia Santos – Governing Board Chair"
The cited Georgia State Law, O.C.G.A. 20-2-310 (c)(1), reads;
"Each student in the public schools of this state shall be afforded the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America during each school day. It shall be the duty of each local board of education to establish a policy setting the time and manner for recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Such policy shall be established in writing and shall be distributed to each teacher within the school."
The state of Florida also mandates the Pledge to be recited, saying in 1003.44 under Title XLVIII;
"...The pledge of allegiance to the flag shall be recited at the beginning of the day in each public elementary, middle, and high school in the state. Each student shall be informed by a written notice published in the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s. 1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge. Upon written request by his or her parent, the student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart. When the pledge is given, unexcused students must show full respect to the flag by standing at attention, men removing the headdress, except when such headdress is worn for religious purposes, as provided by Pub. L. ch. 77-435, s. 7, approved June 22, 1942, 56 Stat. 377, as amended by Pub. L. ch. 77-806, 56 Stat. 1074, approved December 22, 1942."