Do American children really 'swear allegiance' to the American flag?

  1. I am in Asia and I used to go to an American school. The American kids did their pledge after our national anthem and pledge. When I went to uni I noticed that they only played our anthem during ceremonies and there were no pledges.

  2. I got in trouble in school for not participating once. Not big trouble. But threatened with detention (nothing came from it). Even as a kid I felt it was weird and culty.

  3. A friend of mine decided that he was done pledging allegiance in middle school. Our home room teacher was livid, so he told her “I’m a Canadian citizen” which he was (dual citizenship) but she wasn’t having that. And that’s how we found out that none of us had to say the pledge at all. I still stood for it, but after that day I never said it again

  4. I did that from 6th grade forward after I learned I didn't have to. Nobody ever asked or said anything to me about it. I had teachers skip it as well because they had lessons to do...

  5. Ha! The first time I learned that I didn't have to do the pledge in high school my homeroom teacher was so insensed that she argued with me and gave me a detention. Never said a pledge nor an "amen" since that day. It's not like I'm disrupting people doing what they want to do.

  6. They do have the right, but in many places are horribly bullied by peers and teachers for choosing to remain seated and quiet.

  7. Yep. In highschool I out the fact that I had the right to not stand once and was told it was still against the ‘student handbook’. I remember being so amazed this teacher tried to use some shitty handbook to overule the constitution

  8. Looks like the “under god” but wasn’t added until 1954 which is interesting . I always thought it had been part of it since the beginning

  9. My daughter (8 at the time) attempted to tell her teacher she would not participate in the Pledge and her teacher’s response was “Don’t you love America? Don’t you support our troops?”

  10. In a private school we pledged allegiance to the American flag, the Texas flag, and then the flag of the Bible.

  11. I went to an event in Texas and was extremely caught off guard when everyone started doing the Texas pledge. I’m from North Carolina and had no idea you guys did that lol.

  12. Lived in Texas my entire life, went to school in the 80s & 90s and never once had to say a pledge to the Texas flag. The American pledge was only in elementary school, never did it in middle & high school.

  13. Do the Christian schools in Texas swear to 3 flags? The Christian schools in Delaware have the kids swear to the American flag and the Christian flag (it's a thing, look it up).

  14. Yes. Every single morning without fail. I'm reading in this thread that it's not legally required, but when I was a kid (in the 80s and 90s) you'd get in big trouble if you tried not to say it. I mean big trouble by kid standards of course; yelled at by the teacher and sent to the principal's office for example.

  15. I knew about the court ruling when I was 17 and sat and my art teacher screamed at me in the hall and was mortified that i wouldn't say it. She insisted I had to and wasn't aware of any such ruling. Fun times.

  16. When I was a kid, one day my class missed the Pledge of Allegiance that was being announced over the intercom (usual morning routine at about the same time), because the class was talking over the volume of the intercom, because the teacher was outside the door for some reason.

  17. I was in grade school in the mid-80's... It was so ingrained in us that we fucking stood for that flag and recited that pledge regardless of whatever else happened.

  18. My son is a sophomore and in elementary school he had a teacher pull this. I had to call the school and threaten to sue. Had to cite Barnette to get them to back off. Love living in the south/s.

  19. went to high school 2011-14, and once in 2012 I had a friend who refused to stand or say the pledge. Teacher spent somewhere around 15mins trying to get him to stand and pledge; when nothing worked, he was sent to guidance for detention.

  20. Yeah. In middle school/elementary in the early 2000’s it was like that for me in the south. You wouldn’t get in major trouble, though depending on the teacher they’d lecture you and if you continued not doing it you’d be sent to the principal for, if I remember correctly, being rude. It only happened twice that i remember pre-highschool.

  21. In high school, we had a civic teacher that would allow you to sit out the pledge if you could provide a valid reason. A few of us made the "nationalist propaganda" argument while the rest of our redneck classmates stood there like sheep for the rest of the year.

  22. Yes. Went with my high school to the US to see our penpals (honestly great way to create bonds across oceans , still friends with them a decade later).

  23. I think you did the right thing. If you’re not American, you shouldn’t feel it necessary to do our pledge. So no need to say the words or put your hand over your heart Haha. But standing up and being quiet during it shows you’re respecting the others doing it. Kind of like when people say a prayer and you’re not religious, you don’t pray with them but you might lower your head and be quiet during it.

  24. I’m American. I think I was in 9th grade (14yo) when I stopped saying it. By that point I was atheist and the whole one nation under god doesnt sit well with me. I would still stand up (we could get in trouble if we didn’t) but I would not place my hand on my heart or recite the pledge.

  25. According to the official etiquette on such things, your choice was actually what’s recommended.

  26. It's weird, we did this all throughout my school years and I never once questioned how odd it was. I don't think kids think about that, its just one part of the school day to get through so you can get to the end of the day and play outside with your friends.

  27. I live in Scotland. I did this one as part of the scouts for the Queen. It was fucking weird. Never had to do it again or have heard of anybody doing it.

  28. I’m an American and I stopped doing “the pledge” when I was in middle school and became really interested in World War 2 history. From around 6th grade on I just stood there and compared clothing with my classmates.

  29. We had German exchange students in high school that stayed for about 3 months. They didn't participate in the pledge of allegiance either, but did the same as you and acted respectfully. If they were talking, they would remain silent until after or stop working on anything they were doing before the pledge. No one expected them to participate and no one thought twice when they didn't. And yes, many Americans get older and realize that it IS weird and creepy.

  30. And we’re indoctrinated as children too! Ever since elementary I was pledging. It’s a public school (funded & ran by gov) thing for grades 1-12, to my knowledge. I grew up in the South as well so you know teachers would not take kindly to not pledging to the flag. Lectures, punishment, etc.

  31. Wow, when was that? I graduated HS in '94 in the south eastern US (Alabama), and we only said the pledge in elementary school.

  32. Yeah, no one here takes it seriously. Some context you were missing with your experience. Almost all kids hate saying it, they just do it bc it’s a long-standing custom. Very very few people are actually thinking about what they’re saying while they say it - they just go through the motions.

  33. I remember being in elementary school and watching a news program like 60 minutes and there was a girl who got in trouble because she didn't want to say the under God part of the pledge.

  34. She got in trouble, but presumably un-got in trouble, since any kind of punishment would be unconstitutional. That’s an open-and-shut lawsuit if you take it to court.

  35. At face value, the words are meaningful and a worthy thing to strive for; to be one nation, indivisible, forever in pursuit of liberty and justice for all. That is a noble cause to be reminded of on the daily, too bad we suck at it despite the daily encantations. I do not like “under God” part and feel it was an inappropriate addition and IMO the main concerning part with regard to indoctrination.

  36. Yes. Although many do not understand this is an optional thing. I realized about 9th grade that no one was gonna do anything if the weird kid in class decided, screw allegiance today, and then pass around a form to start their own militia instead. (I really did that, I was a very strange teenager, what's stranger people actually signed up)

  37. This is a pretty important point. They say some words, and get on with life. Does that mean they are swearing some allegiance to a flag? No of course it doesn't. The whole exercise is creepy and culty, but children don't even know what the words mean. Its just another stupid thing adults make them do. Even when they are old enough to know what they are doing, it's so over done that it means absolutely nothing.

  38. Yes. Kids have no idea what they’re actually saying & could care less. They’re told it’s part of the routine, so they do it.

  39. I went to a lot of schools and it was generally phased out by high school (ages 14 to 18). Almost every school has the kids younger than that pledge every morning first thing.

  40. I hate that I'm forced to stop what I'm doing/saying and take off my hat every time they play a patriotic song at a sporting event. If I don't, I know I'll get weird looks (at best) or beat up (at worst).

  41. When my kids were in elementary in late 00’s they would do the pledge over the loudspeaker first thing in the morning. As a parent, if you were still stuck on campus after dropping your kids off you had to stop wherever you were, even outside, even in the parking lot (it was an outdoor school/no hallways) and face the general direction of the school flag or else face dirty looks or even have the principal give you a reprimand. Every other adult you saw would stop and face the direction of the flag even if the flag was out of sight. So weird but typical. Southern California.

  42. My school system had stopped doing it by the time I was in high school. They just no longer had the Pledge and I don’t remember when the transition was. Would have been in the 1990s though.

  43. Yeah, there's sort of a social pressure to do it. I graduated in northern VA and half the class at some point stopped giving a shit

  44. As far as I'm aware this usually is a thing we did in schools and not really anywhere else. We had to do it every morning at the start of the school day. It was weird as hell. Not to mention I went to public school and it states in the pledge "one nation under god" as if everyone believes in the same God. Fucking weirdo shit man.

  45. In Australia they would make us sing national anthems and the school pledge every assembly. It's not just the USA that does weird shit like this.

  46. It is culty. Even if they don't force you, it is. You could be punished if you did not both stand and hold your hand over your heart while saying it every morning. It depends on the school of course. Some don't enforce it as much as others

  47. I've heard the same happens in games. But, if I just wanna watch a game as a non American, will I get weird looks or be yelled at when I don't stand?

  48. Depends on where you're at (we only did it on elementary) and yeah it is. It's not like most kids actually pay attention to what they're reciting since most don't know what its even about. Do you not do this as an adult?

  49. I haven't been a student for about 20 years, so I don't speak for the children of today. When I was a kid, we said the pledge every day, as early as kindergarten. We were so young and it was part of a greater set of new experiences (school itself) that we all just took it as part of the routine. Personally, I had very little understanding of what it even meant, and just mindlessly repeated it. For the first two years or so I thought the phrase "for which it stands" was. "for Richard Stantz," who I just assumed was a civil rights hero or something.

  50. I never cared much about religious stuff like God. I just replaced that word with Satan whenever I did the pledge of allegiance in school.

  51. The funny thing is the pledge was just a marketing ploy by a baptist socialist dude to sell flags to every classroom in the US in the 1800s. The Founding Fathers would have found the idea of a forced pledge of loyalty to be the complete opposite of what they stood for.

  52. From what I know of the Founding Fathers, they likely would have been split over it, like they were about nearly everything.

  53. When I was in elementary and middle school, we did the pledge of allegiance every Monday with the entire school and we’d stand outside in the recreational area of our school ground. They had it over the loud speaker too. If we didn’t do the pledge or goofed off with our friends (like children do) we would be disciplined with detention, or after school gym scraping. In highschool, it was more chill. I don’t recall ever doing it. But every Friday football game during the halftime show, we had an aspiring choir kid sing the national anthem and we’d all stand up and stay quiet. National anthem is much more normal than the pledge of allegiance though. Possibly irrelevant info: Attended public school in CA

  54. I don’t understand the beef with this. It’s about unity to one’s country and patriotism. That’s the goal of every country’s national anthem. I don’t think this is unique to the US either, but it is common in schools as the US has a very patriotic culture. I don’t find anything wrong with teaching people and especially young people that they are apart of the country through pledging the flag. Allows people and young people know at a young age that your neighbor should not be a stranger, they are a fellow citizen whom you should look out for.

  55. Most but not all, yes. But it’s not expected to mean anything; the kids don’t pay attention to the words. I didn’t put any thought into parsing them until I was in my teens. It’s certainly not supposed to be binding or anything.

  56. Yeah, I agree it was just something we did and didn’t really care about at the time. I hate when Reddit takes things from my childhood and skews it up with its self hatred boner that it has for anything American. Why is it bad to be prideful of your country?

  57. every day in school they say it on the announcements. Some don't say it. I don't. I don't put my hands on my chest, i dont even look at the flag. I still stand up so i dont look like the odd one out. East Coast here

  58. Yes although there is no requirement to actually perform the pledge. As a teacher I have never done it and generally the half of the class that even pays attention to it just mumbles through it so no one really cares.

  59. Depends on the school. Some do, some don’t. It’s more ceremonial than literal, you’re not like legally bound by saying it.

  60. Yeah, I’ve always found the pledge of allegiance to be an odd and uniquely American thing. I am from the US, born and raised, and I have yet to hear of another country with a pledge of allegiance.

  61. Yep... and if you go to Christian school you get to pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and the Bible. Three... every f-ing day.

  62. I was taught in school that evolution and global warming were lies designed to discriminate against Christians. In science class. And yeah, also swore allegiance to the American flag. My hometown was 10/10 a cult.

  63. Yes. And yes, it is. America needs to realize it’s not the 50’s and we don’t have to assert our superiority over the godless Commies anymore.

  64. It felt like it was more in remembrance of the people before me who sacrificed everything. That is what I got out of it. Definitely not cult like.

  65. In Texas we would turn to the Texas flag and swear allegiance to that one too. We were also reminded occasionally that Texas was the only state allowed to fly their flag at the same height as the US flag.

  66. Also fun fact, texas has its own pledge of allegiance, so in texas public school we had to say the US pledge and then the texas one. I didn’t realize this was not normal until I went to college

  67. Honestly, I always kind of liked it. It makes the point that the flag stands for "liberty and justice for all" and the ideals of the Republic, so if you pay attention to the actual words, it's more than empty flag worship. The United States is basically held together culturally by this kind of indoctrination - we don't have a shared ethnic history to define our identity, as the European nations do. It's democratic ideology that makes you an American. Until Trump, that is - he and his ilk are trying to give us a Euro-style ethnic identity, maybe so they can pretend those core values don't matter.

  68. A cult removes your identity until its the only thing you are. The way we did it was more of a respect thing. We remember those who died and what they fought for, especially because my grandfathers have fought in the wars since the revolution. That's how it was explained to me.

  69. I never even thought about it till recently. Yes, we had to pledge allegiance to the American flag. We are also supposed to stand with our hand over our heart when an American flag passes by during a parade. It does sound like a cult. It's been bothering me. If we are free, why do we do it?

  70. Every morning from age 5-18 in school. Across the country. We would stand during the announcements, place our right hand over our heart, and recite in unison:

  71. The school I teach at doesn't do the pledge at all. Just the other day my students and I dissected the words (we are studying argumentative essays) and they gave a collective "nah miss".

  72. For real. See this question all the time and then the same type of comments making it seem to be something super traumatic when it made no difference in any of our lives.

  73. Took me a long time to realize I didn't want to say it- and I'm pretty obnoxious in my "standing up for what I believe" attitude

  74. Yep. It's incredibly culty and It's just one step to indoctrinating us all into a life of compliance and following orders.

  75. It wasn't until I was in college talking about it to international students that I realized how insane it is. At the time I abstained from the "under god" part of it, but otherwise went along with it to avoid punishment and ostracism.

  76. Sure, but this isn't a religion thing that you guys are doing, it's a nationalism thing. Like noone in Europe ever had something like this.

  77. It isn't legally required for them to do so, most of the time the younger kids do it just because an adult told them to and it's part of a morning public school routine. But by the time we get to high school most of the kids are sitting down in their chairs and ignoring it lol. But I will say it both depends on the state and individual experience, so other people's pov's might be different. But I do know it's a constitutional right not to be forced to, some teachers in deep red states might try to punish the student for it but I'm pretty sure if they make a stink about it and point that out (preface by saying they shouldn't HAVE to) they'd get out of trouble.

  78. When I was in public elementary school in New Jersey, circa 1961, after the Pledge the teacher led us all in prayer. Failure to comply earned you a trip to the Principal's office.

  79. Yes. I got suspended in my jr year of high school for refusing to stand during the pledge and refusal to say it.

  80. It's peer pressured into you and part of a daily routine of a USA school. However the ACLU has pushed back against this and technically you can opt out if you want to deal with the bullying and peer pressure. Looking back on it, it's very much some cultish MLM style bullshit they pander to the naive and vulnerable. If I have children, I'd tell them to do what they want if they thought it was dumb.

  81. Yup. You can ask to not participate or stay sitting down in a large crowd. Ive come to find it as a joke.

  82. It's encouraged, sometimes strongly, but it's not legally required. Kids can stay seated, or stand silently if they want to. A previous supreme court decision allowed that.

  83. Yes. By the constitution it's entirely optional but some adult weirdos think it's ok to force them to do it.

  84. I think it depends on whether you go to public or private school and where you live. I remember doing it in public school in the 80s and 90s, but I never had to do it when I went to private school. I also went to public school in Berkeley, California in the 90’s just before I switched to private and I can’t remember having to do it there. I did do it in San Francisco and I think also in New Jersey in the 80’s.

  85. It's law to do it everyday in the state of Missouri in schools. As a Christian I don't do it and find it very hypocritical to pledge to a flag. It is an object and honestly feels like an idol.

  86. You can. You get bitched at, guilted, and they threaten you with punishment, but if you know your first amendment right you can tell them to fuck off with it. S' what I did at least.

  87. They start us out in kindergarten. My schools had all the kids do the Pledge of Allegiance while standing. At the time, the absolutely awesome kids would refuse to stand. (Not in kindergarten per se, but later in school years). I didn’t understand why at the time. Now I think those kids were smart and gangster

  88. Yes they have swear allegiance to the American flag. I never have which always put me in trouble in school but I always sat quiet until i reached highschool when my teachers and principal asked why and simply replied america is filled with hypocrisy. They asked why and I told them that’ll be your assignment not mine. And went back to class. They tried to suspend and expell me and i contacted my uncle who worked at the board of education and was friends with the boss. And there was a whole case. So ever since then in my highschool they made it an option to either pledge the allegiance or to stay quiet and be respectful to those who did and was never much of an issue afterwards.

  89. I went to a Christian school and had to pledge allegiance to both the Christian and American flags in the morning.

  90. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, “under god” indivisible, for Liberty, and justice for all.”

  91. Well it’s called the pledge for one, and yes. And sure it is culty but correct me if I’m wrong military service isn’t required here like a few other countries so in theory it’s culty with no forced drinking of the proverbial koolaid.

  92. I (27M) haven't said the pledge of allegiance to the flag or for any other reason since kindergarten when we were each forced to take turns leading the class in indoctrination

  93. According to my American husband, yes. And I think it is cult-y, too. I was never ask to swear the allegiance to flag in my home country.

  94. The lead a pledge of allegiance, but there have been Supreme Court cases that reaffirm that no citizen is ever required to take a loyalty oath.

  95. Interesting to see so many people say its optional. When I was in highschool (around 2006) it was technically optional, but teachers would argue with you and the kids would give you shit if you sat down. There was a muslim girl in my grade who wouldn't participate; everyone, including teachers, harassed her for it. I started to sit too in support and it did not help lol they just harrassed both of us.

  96. I went to a private catholic school and we had pledge allegiance and say prayers every single day while standing. I remember being called out for sitting down or not saying it. I had teachers who understood that it was okay, but I got threatened and got detention a few times by the strict ones.

  97. Where i live everyone has to sing the national athem before starting clases.... it was anyoning and most of the time i just skiped it.

  98. When I was in school in my small rural town from 98-2011 everyone always stood up and placed their right hand over their heart and recited the pledge. I worked at an inner city high school in 2020 and not a single kid stood up, which I think is a good thing. It’s dumb as hell to pledge allegiance to a piece of fabric.

  99. Yeah we do and in Texas we swear to its flag as well. Fuckin moronic. I remember doing it till I think my 5th or 6th year before I realized how dumb it was so I just stood silent. Why would I swear allegiance to a country where the government fails its people.

  100. We didn’t really do this in my classes growing up. Maybe a few times at like big events and we learned it. But We were not forced to participate. We have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, including not speaking.

  101. Doesn't matter. Talk about anything negative/criticism on the US and you will hear it. It's definitely 'culty' whether people admit it, swear to the flag or not. The US definitely has a big upstanding for its country

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