Soldier's mother requests school recite pledge daily

PARIS — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Ted Moccia said a decision to have the staff and students salute the American flag only on Monday mornings is not meant as a sign of disrespect, but rather as a way to set the tone for the week.

Leslie H. Dixon, Sun Journal

The U.S. and Maine flags are flown daily in front of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris. Students lower and raise them each day.

“We set a tone for all our students. We rise and do it as an entire building,” said Moccia, who noted that he will even stop in the hallway and place his hand over his heart if the pledge is being said. “We're serious. We're engaged. We're doing it.”

The issue arose at last week's Board of Directors meeting when an Otisfield mother of an Afghanistan soldier told the board she had learned the high school does not salute the flag every day.

“I want them to do the Pledge of Allegiance at the high school every day,” Diane Cummings told the board at its Sept. 7 meeting.

“I think we should recognize the flag. I think it's the right thing to do,” she said.

The practice of not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily at the high school has been in place for many years, officials said, although the elementary and middle schools in the Oxford Hills School District do recite the pledge daily, according to some school administrators.

While board Chairman Ron Kugell of Oxford agreed with her, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said school policy does not require that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily. He also agreed that the policy should be revisited. He urged Cummings to talk with the policy subcommittee about reviewing the procedure.

The current school policy states that students can opt out of reciting the pledge by written request.

Whether students should have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school and particularly whether they should include the phrase “one nation under God,” which was inserted into the pledge in the 1950s, has been a topic of ongoing discussion for many years in schools throughout the state and nation.

While many schools do recite the pledge daily, others, such as the Poland and Buckfield high schools do not.

Buckfield High School Assistant Principal Brian Laramee said Monday that each classroom has an American flag, but in the three years he has been at the school, the Pledge of Allegiance has not been recited and, to his knowledge, there has not been any conversation about it.

Poland Regional High School Principal Cari Medd said Monday the school does not recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but several years ago a group of students and several adults wanted a conversation about reinstating the pledge daily. After what Medd described as a “large democratic talk,” a compromise was reached to allow anyone who wanted to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to do so each day under a flag in the lobby.

Medd said the issue “died out” when those students who felt “passionate” about reciting the pledge graduated two years ago, and since that time, no one has come forward about reinstating it.

“We try to encourage kids daily to participate in the democratic process, but it was not a conscious decision,” she said of the lack of saying the pledge daily. There are flags in each classroom and throughout the rest of the school.

Medd said a new student council is in place this year and she will approach them to see if they would like to discuss the flag salute issue again.

Although the high school does not recite the Pledge of Allegiance, it has been a daily activity at the adjoining Whittier Middle School in Poland, said Principal Ayesha Farag-Davis. The daily pledge has not started this year because the newly renovated school is waiting for the arrival of flags for the classroom, Farag-Davis said.

Most other schools in the area, such as Telstar Area High School in Bethel, Dirigo High School in Dixfield and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily.

At Lewiston High School, Assistant Principal Michael Hutchins said the students and staff are led over the intercom, usually by the receptionist, in the pledge every morning.

Edward Little High School Assistant Principal Steve Galway said the students and staff also recite the pledge daily.

“Every morning, once a day at 7:50 p.m.,” he said.

Moccia said a group of students raises and lowers the flag outside the school daily, and there are flags throughout the school.

“I truly believe in service to our country. I respect our service men and women,” Moccia said. “This is not about disrespecting anyone or country.”

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 's picture

Pledge is unconstitutional and backwards.

First, the under god part is plainly unconstitutional.
Second, but the real problem is its backwards. The United States of America is unique because the powers of Government are derived from the rights of the people. The people as individuals are sovereign and the country derives its sovereignty from the people. Therefore the oath the people of the US should use is the one in the Constitution - I do solemnly swear that I will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States (Article II Section 1). You might add a clause about our responsibilities as citizens.
Pledging to the flag and to the goverment makes us slaves. Its not patriotism.

 's picture

bellamy salute

While there are snippets of truth to your statement, this is certainly not the whole truth, surprisingly! Shall we start with the salute itself, which was started by Bellamy? tell the whole story, referring to the Roman roots of the salute, which was military based. The Germans adopted the salute, and therefore was changed in 1942, when the Flag Code was instituted. And his original pledge was changed, over his objections. Heaven forbid we actually used something that was originated by one of the greatest civilizations ever.

 's picture


kinda duplicated from above, the SJ site went down for maintenance just as I submitted, sorry.

 's picture

noone said you cant recite the pledge

they only said thay cant force other to do it. relay its simple take out that one part about god. it wasent part of the origional pledge anyway it was added to be discriminatory. to make communists feel not welcome in america. its part of Mcartheisim. in sure if the pledge said "one nation under Allah" there would be no argument.

RONALD RIML's picture

Are Conservatives aware Author of 'Pledge' a Socialist???

Heaven Forbid!!!

He was actually hired by a Flag Company as part of a promotion to help sell flags. Good old 'American Ingenuity' and business sense!! The pledge was written in 1892.

The original salute wasn't the 'Hand over the Heart' but somethng a bit reminiscent for our conservative friends......

It wasn't until the 50's - sixty years later - that "Under God" was inserted as a response to the Godless, Atheistic Communist Threat......

Read all about it -

 's picture

bellamy salute

As usual, there is truth in the above, but not the whole truth, surprisingly. Bellamy himself adopted and adapted the salute from the Romans. God forbid we use anything from one of the greatest civilizations ever. Oh and the pledge has been adapted several times, once over his objections. The Flag Code changed the salute because of the Nazi's use which started after the Italians adopted it in the '20's.

 's picture

Not saying the Pledge is not

Not saying the Pledge is not about disrespect? Oh really? Those of us that don't want the Mosque near Ground zero are told we're being unfair and not respecting the Muslim religion........but we can't even Pledge our own flag, or speak our Savior's name publicly anymore because it might offend someone? I can't even write HIS name here because my post won't be pusblished..........but we're not disrespecting anyone? I don't EVER recall pledging the flag every day in school with anyone crying out that they were offended. This is America...and if you come to America....then you chose to live in OUR land and respect OUR way of life! We're the ones the should be offended by how you have come and forced us to change our ways of living!

 's picture

request for the pledge

I think it's a good idea besides it's not disrespecting anyone. This is America, our country. Everyone who has come here to live has respected and excepted the American way. I for one think it is a good idea to pay respects to our service men and women.

 's picture

What happened to teaching civic responsibility!

Don't make this a religious thing, the problem is that these school systems are not fostering the American pride that this country is so sorely lacking! Why should this have died out after students graduated speaks volumes about the "teachers" and administrators doesn't it? And as far as you mr XYZ the mere fact that you are allowed to post and voice your opinions in matters like this has been provided to you by this country and its veterans so show some gratitude and respect for both for a change.

Untined States Marine Corps. No better friend, nor worse emeny.

Mark Elliott's picture

The Pledge....


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