[FoRK] flag burning...

mattj at newsblip.com mattj
Mon Oct 31 16:50:50 PST 2005

Kevin Elliott wrote:
> Don't forget the issue of courtesy/politeness.

Right. I think it can be complicated, which is why I intentionally called
Corinna's comment "interesting".

However, the situation of a pledge or prayer in schools is different from the
situation of, say, cutting in line at the water fountain, or throwing
spitballs.  The latter are merely issues of good manners (unprotected
behaviors), and do not involve basic rights like freedom of speech and

Now imagine a 2-D graph, where one axis is the student's response to 
the pledge,
and the other axis is the teacher's response to the student's action.  
There are
many possible points on this graph where we each might approve/disapprove

E.g., some student choices:

1 stand and pledge
2 stand and pledge minus some phrases
3 stand and silently hold hand over heart
4 just stand, arms at side
5 sit attentively, quietly
6 sit quietly, intentionally looking away side
7 sit and read
8 stand and face back of room
9 leave room during pledge

(In some cases historically, schools have said that kids who decline to pledge
*must* leave the room.)

What some cases have concluded, if I remember correctly, is that 
students have a
right to not participate, so long as they do it in a way that does not disrupt
the class.  The threshold for "disruption", however, probably differs based on
local community norms.  I suspect there are many, many communities where even
trying #2 will get other kids whispering.

-Matt Jensen

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