Why Do Children Say the Pledge of Allegiance in School?


Why Do Children Say the Pledge of

Allegiance in School?

The Pledge of Allegiance extols American patriotism. But where did it come from? Why

do children recite the pledge, and do they understand its meaning?

In the mornings at schools across America, the intercom switches on. The students

stand from their desks, and a person speaks through the intercom reciting the Pledge of

Allegiance. Students look to the American flag hanging in the corner of the classroom

with their right hands across their hearts and recite alongside the speaker.

From elementary school through high school, children in American schools will say the

Pledge of Allegiance every morning before starting the school day. But why? Why do

children say the Pledge of Allegiance in school? How did this tradition begin?

Where Did the Pledge Originate?

In 1892, Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. He worked as an editor at the

Youth’s Companion magazine.

The country was approaching the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’

voyage to America. Bellamy wrote and published the pledge in his magazine to boost

the country’s patriotism leading up to the event.

Schools around the country were planning for the celebration. Bellamy decided there

should be a salute to the flag and recited the pledge during the ceremony on October

21, 1892. On this day, more than 1 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance for

the first time.

Why Do Children Say the Pledge at School?

Since that moment in history, children in schools in America began to recite the pledge.

The words changed slightly over time. For example, “my Flag,” from Bellamy’s version,

changed to “the Flag of the United States of America.”

Congress officially adopted the pledge in 1942. There was pushback when the Pledge

of Allegiance became mandatory in schools. Many wondered if forcing kids to say it

violated the First Amendment. People still ask why children say the Pledge of

Allegiance at school still if it infringes on their rights.

Today, 47 states require schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. While this is the

case, students and staff may abstain from speaking the pledge if they prefer.

Do Children Know What They’re Saying?

Most children won’t understand what they’re saying at such young ages. It’s challenging

to truly understand the concept of pledging your loyalty to the flag and the country when

you’re under the age of 10. For many children, reciting the pledge becomes about

memorizing the words and a daily routine.

Honoring the American Flag

Almost all teachers have an American flag in the classroom. Some schools also have

an American flag outside. While you might assume that you can use any flag for both

purposes, indoor and outdoor flags are not the same.

Teachers must use indoor flags for their classrooms. Just like outdoor flags have

stronger materials that protect them from the elements, indoor flags have a vibrance

that makes them shine in the classroom.

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