Pennsylvania principal will no longer say "God Bless America" after Pledge of Allegiance

A Florida sixth-grader faces charges of disrupting a school function and resisting arrest after a confrontation that followed his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. (Source: MGN/file)
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By: Cleve Bryan | CBS Philadelphia
May 8, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County school principal will no longer say “God bless America” after leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance. The tradition is no more over the threat of legal action.

The separation of church and state is once again causing debate. This time, over whether it’s okay for a school official to say “God Bless America” after children recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

“There are people that don’t believe in God,” parent Larisa Schreiber said.

“Every President has said “God Bless America,” it’s the right thing to do,” parent Suzanne Hoffman said.

Until recently, it was a tradition for the principal at Sabold Elementary School in Springfield to say “God Bless America” over the public address system after leading the pledge.

But after a parent complained to a religion watchdog group and lawyers got involved, the Springfield School District decided no more “God Bless America” over the PA system.

A statement to parents read:

“We understand that this is an important topic to many of our constituents. However, please understand that the district does not make the law, we follow it.”

“I’m glad that our principal made the choice that he made by not saying it over the loud speaker. I think children are very impressionable,” Schreiber said.

“I try to instill in my kids everyday the sense of unity and community and patriotism, and that’s what I will continue to do with my kids and they will continue to say ‘God Bless America,'” Hoffman said.

The school is not allowed to stop students from continuing to say “God Bless America.” While the issue may be settled at Sabold, it furthers the conversation if schools are inch by inch coming into compliance with the First Amendment, or if religious expression is being trumped by political correctness.

“I mean what’s the next step? Are they going to come here when a student sneezes and the principal says ‘God Bless You?'” Michael Puppio, of the Springfield GOP, said.

“Well, I don’t think a student should be made to have to say it if that’s not what their family is raising them to do,” Drexel Hill resident Lauren Carliss said.

The school district says that the cost of a legal battle played a part in their decision to stop the principal from saying “God Bless America.”