Would Having Graduating High School Students Take An Oath Of Allegiance Be Held Unconstitutional Today?
New York City school children in a display of patriotism, September 1902, “Saluting The Flag” photo: Florence Maynard
After World War I and the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, declaring your loyalty to America was not taken lightly. In 1919, President of the New York City Board of Education, Anning S. Prall, set a requirement that all graduating New York City High School children recite a pledge of allegiance to the United States before receiving their diplomas. This is quite different than the pledge most Americans know by heart.
“I will reverence my country’s flag and defend it against enemies at home and abroad.”
“I will respect and obey the President of the United States and the law of the land.”
“I will support, in school and out, American ideals of justice and fair play, including the right of unhampered opportunity under the law for all.”
“I will hold the ideal of rational patriotism above loyalty to any individual, political party, social class or previous national connection.”
“I will actively oppose all revolutionary movements, such as Bolshevism, anarchism, I. W. W.-ism, or any movement antagonistic to the laws of the United States or tending to subvert the Constitution of the United States.”
How long Prall’s allegiance pledge was retained is undocumented. But in 2019, can a student refuse to say a pledge of allegiance in school? Continue reading