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article imagePledge of allegiance upsets Air Force veteran

By Gar Swaffar     Oct 24, 2011 in Politics
Seattle - One Air Force veteran is upset over the adherence to a Washington State policy of reciting the pledge of allegiance in school on a daily basis.
John Stanford International School (JSIS) is not one of the typical schools in Seattle, Washington, since it carries as part of its core belief that immersion in a second language is a principal method of creating the culturally diverse community JSIS strives for.
That belief in cultural diversity is the stated reason US Air Force veteran Stacey Sides chose to relocate to the Wallingford, Washington area, so she could enroll her daughter in the school.
The immersion program in either Spanish or Japanese begins on day one in kindergarten and never ends at JSIS, perhaps making the school a model of multiculturalism for many who choose the school, with half of the days lessons being taught in a second language.
Washington State law is however, abundantly clear on the matter and states that the pledge of allegiance is not optional on the part of school districts but is a mandatory function for each school in the state to offer.
Each student, on an individual basis, has the right to not participate but must also maintain a respectful silence if so choosing.
The story as being reported at the Seattle Times relates that the pledge requirement has not always been given a strict adherence at JSIS and perhaps more than a few other schools in the state.
Kelly Aramaki is a former school principal who left the decision to each teacher to make for their classroom. Aramaki has been replaced by Jesely Alvarez and her choice has been to enforce the policy of both the State, and the school district. Alvarez has sent two letters to parents this past week alerting them to the changes being put in place as of Monday October 24th. Despite some resistance from teachers in the month of discussion, Alvarez has determined that following State law is the correct course for the school.
"As adults in this school community, I believe it is important that we follow rules," wrote Alvarez
Marni Campbell is the Executive Director of Schools and had this to say in response to those who feel the new policy is at odds with a globalist view.
"I know she is highly committed to the global mission of the school," Campbell said of Alvarez. "In a community where you're talking about global citizenship, it's also important to talk about American citizenship and what that means."
It is apparently the focus on performing the pledge of allegiance to a specific nations flag which has so upset Sides who is apparently interested in raising her six year old half Jamaican daughter without an allegiance to the nation of her birth.
Sides' daughter's father was a Jamaican born Navy serviceman who died when his daughter was only 1 1/2 years old.
While some of the parents are distraught over the new policy such as Jessica Rose with a fifth grader in the Japanese immersion program who had the comment,
"I don't think we should be making kids stand up and pledge to any one thing. It just totally goes against what this community is about."
Other parents see the process as one which is being made more controversial than it should be.
"It's political correctness run amok," she added. "People are bending over backward to make things issues that really aren't issues."
The local Parent, Teacher Student Association treasurer is Janet Robinson and she appears to feel the pledge of allegiance is an opportunity to include the flag of the United States and to open discussion on American freedoms along side the globalist point of view. "It's a symbol of our country," as she stated.
The disagreement some of the parents appear to have, such as Haley Sides, is that rather than a strictly globalist point of view and education being offered to the students, they're also being given an opportunity to compare those globalist views to an American point of view.
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