Teens Demand Pledge Of Allegiance Be Optional, Face Backlash

The Pledge of Allegiance has stirred up controversy at one Maine high school as a group of teens are pushing to have recitation of the words be made optional.

South Portland High School Senior Class President Lily SanGiovanni leads students in the Pledge every day. Recently, she made one subtle change that has people up in arms.

As she asks students to stand for the recitation, she adds the words “if you’d like to.”

According to a report from Yahoo!, Maine’s state laws require every student to have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but they don’t make the Pledge mandatory.

Seeing this, SanGiovanni and Morrigan Turner, the Senior Class VP, as well as friend Gaby Ferrell, became concerned that some students might feel as if they were being coerced into saying the words.

SanGiovanni insisted that her decision to make the Pledge optional wasn’t based off a hatred for America at all.

“We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn’t,” she said in comments to WCSH 6.

Principal Ryan Caron admitted that the backlash had been harsh as a result, with emails and social media messages tearing into the girls for making the change on their own.

He also asked SanGiovanni to remove the four words from her daily address.

Checking out the Facebook comments from the Bangor Daily News coverage of the story reveals a glimpse of just how personally a lot of area residents are taking SanGiovanni’s decision.

“They don’t want to pledge allegiance to this country, but they want all the rights it affords?”

“The more we change, the worse we get, This is Unamerican and is part of the Problem Today!!”

“What a disgrace it is when the pledge of allegiance isn’t important anymore, every person in this country is here enjoying this country of opportunities and now to destroy the very fabric on which it was built, I for one am offended by the oppression that is being shoved down our throats!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

“Spoiled brats looking for attention… you don’t want to say the pledge of allegiance feel free to move to another country where you have no rights or freedom”

What do you think about the girls’ decision? Should the Pledge of Allegiance be optional as they’ve decided? How would you handle it?