W.Va. principal cancels pledge, anthem for a day

American flag stock photo

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County principal cancelled the Pledge of Allegiance for a day after several students claimed they were being forced to recite it.

Capital High School principal Clinton Giles also canceled the national anthem on Monday.

He told media outlets that the students’ complaints disturbed him because they misrepresented what the school was doing. So, he cancelled the activities for a day.

“What we found, is what I believed would happen — a majority of (students) stood up and said, ‘We want this, Mr. Giles, our day doesn’t begin properly without it,'” Giles said.

Senior Cherry Huynh is among those who support starting the school day with the pledge and the national anthem.

“You know, there are soldiers overseas putting up their lives for us and I think it is just the respectful thing to do,” Huynh said. “For him to cancel it was ridiculous and unnecessary.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students cannot be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance or to salute the American flag in school.

Since 2010, Capital students have been required to stand up during the pledge, whether they recite it or not.

Giles said he implemented the requirement so students who do not recite the pledge do not distract those who participate.

“What we noticed was that we had people who would not sit quietly. They would sit and do homework, work on a computer, horseplay or hold conversation,” Giles said. “There’s no requirement (students) put their hand over their heart or recite the pledge.”

Sophomore George Lilly said standing up for the pledge should be optional.

“It shouldn’t be all or nothing. People have the right to make a decision and when he does that, when he says you all have to stand, or none of you are going to stand, he takes away that ability to make a choice,” Lilly said.

Giles said the pledge and national anthem would return Tuesday.

Credit: The Associated Press.

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