Community members react to LPSS not changing Pledge of Allegiance policy

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – The Lafayette Parish School Board voted Wednesday night to keep their policy the same on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The vote comes after the controversy surrounding an Acadiana High student who refused to stand for the pledge several times, citing personal and religious beliefs, which sparked the Lafayette Parish School Board to look into possibly changing the current policy that requires all students to stand even if they don’t recite it, but after a collective vote the policy remains the same.

The vote wasn’t neccesarily that we won’t change the policy ever,” said school board member, Erick Knezek. “It’s just that we weren’t going to change the policy last night to the proposed policy that we had on the table.”

After an 8-1 vote, Knezek says the vote was in part influenced by an overwhelming amount of feedback from the public.

“The feedback was please don’t change the pledge, don’t change the policy to make it less effective,” said Knezek.

The decision comes on the heels of a nearly three month controversy after the student contacted an American Humanist Group alleging he was badly mistreated by a teacher for refusing to stand and recite the pledge.

“If you’re going to partake in public school then we have an obligation to the student to teach respect, citizenship, and part of that is the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem,” said Knezek.

“If we require someone to stand because they’re in this country or in a classroom in this country, then we should also take a look back into possibly bringing prayer into schools,” said resident, Corey Jack.

However, many community members agree that the policy remaining the same was the best decision made.

“I think that regardless of your religious beliefs that you should stand for the pledge,” said resident, Percy Francis.

“Every student should stand up whether they recite it or not, because it’s a sign of respect,” said resident, Faye Patin. “If you’re in this country you need to show respect.”

“Everyone should stand with their hand over their heart and recite it as loud as they can,” said resident, Cheryl Willett.

Despite the decision that was reached by the school board, Knezek says the policy could be up for review again to be made more compliant.

The American Humanist Association is promoting a national boycott of the Pledge of Allegiance to encourage students who object to the “under God” wording of the pledge, to exercise their right to remain seated as it’s recited.

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