I’ve been sitting down for the Pledge of Allegiance for nearly two years, and I’m now a high school senior close to graduating. I felt extremely uncomfortable with reciting “One Nation Under God” when I don’t believe in God. Throughout those two years, I’ve received little pushback besides confrontations from one uninformed teacher and a confused classmate. Both of these incidents were resolved with a simple heart-to-heart conversation, and I’m grateful for the ability to freely express my views, even ones many people don’t agree with or understand.
The quote ‘under God’ turns the Pledge from a patriotic saying into a prayer. Prayers are for church, not for school. So my friends and I sat down. We attempted to do this last week, but we didn’t have enough courage. Today, after finding this site, we did and now my friend is excited that we could start something big.
I began to sit for the Pledge when sports players began to take a knee for the National Anthem because they were bothered by the events happening in the country. I began to sit because I am bothered by the people in the country and the events happening.
I’m sitting here in tears right now. I can not thank you enough. I was so upset and I thought I was alone. It feels good to know that I’m not. And that I can let my son know he doesn’t have to be ashamed of who he is and that there really are people out there who will support him.
We did have the meeting with [the school] this morning. It was great! They apologized to my son and I. [School officials] said they were not aware of the law and they will change their policy. It is obvious to me that the principal is very religious. They did not ask, but as an Atheist I felt a need so I did explain the reasons for my son sitting it out and that we in no way are trying to offend people of different beliefs or veterans.... Thank you so much for all the help you have given us! ...That was a lot of work on your part and I appreciate it more than I can say!!
[My friend] and I are satisfied with the response... Most importantly, [our teachers] may have newly enlightened understandings of students rights and how to be truly respectful of them. Thank you very much.
A couple of kids looked at me weird at first, a few asked me what was going on. Most of the eyes have stopped. . . I feel empowered, though, like I’m in on something special and meaningful.
A few days ago I had a sub and he got so mad at me when I sat out that he called me out in front of the whole class. So as a girl with severe social anxiety, I started shaking a little so he was like, ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU STAND, YOU’RE SO DISRESPECTFUL, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU,’ blah, blah, stuff like that. At this point, I was red and my whole body was shaking and I was about to break down until he asked me why I sat. And here I was like, ‘OK, I did my research, I got this,’ so I did. I told him about how it was my First Amendment right to sit out if I please and how ‘under god’ was discriminating against me because I’m an atheist. And after that he was almost speechless, so he just nodded and sat down to take attendance. And the whole class was in, like, disbelief that the quite girl who sits alone in the corner just did all of that, and I even had a girl from the front of the room talk to me about how awesome what I did was and how she’s always too scared to sit out of the Pledge. And I was just so proud of myself that day.
I was called into the office today and was told that my teacher had been spoken to, and that I would not only be allowed to enter my class tomorrow but continue to practice my beliefs as I see fit. I would like to express my gratitude for your help in resolving this matter. I was deeply concerned for my rights as well as my safety. Keep up the good work. The students need you!
I’d like to thank you for your time and patience on this matter. It taught me to stand up for or at least not be afraid to share my beliefs, and it gave me better understanding of society and law. Again, thank you for this occasion. It helped me out in more ways than one.