New law requires Pledge of Allegiance recited daily


Ji-Ho Lee

Colin Kaepernick went from a mediocre professional football player to a household name after controversially sitting down during the playing of the national anthem in protest of unfair treatment of racial minorities in the United States. Joined by other athletes such as women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Kaepernick’s protest gained the attention of the public. In the halls of RBHS, high school students now have more chances to join Kaepernick and sit down.
Sponsored by Rep. Shane Roden, House Bill 1750 passed into law on Aug. 28. An amendment to Senate Bill 638, the original law instructed students to recite the Pledge only once a week, while HB 1750 states that every Missouri school supported in whole or in part by public money should recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
Senior Patrick Burnam wholeheartedly agrees with the new law, saying it serves as a reminder for the privileges offered in the United States.
“I think that the society that we live in downplays the importance of our country and the respect it should be given,” Burnam said. “As American citizens who enjoy the most free system and protected rights of any nation, we should give our nation the respect it deserves.”
Other students, such as sophomore Brie Tucker, feel that the Pledge is more of a disruption than a helpful reminder.

art by Éléa-Marie Gilles
art by Éléa-Marie Gilles
“In class sometimes you have to say the Pledge of Allegiance while you’re working so you have to stop,” Tucker said. “It interrupts work time and is kind of distracting.”
Students such as senior Elliot Bones also disagree with a daily recitation of the Pledge. While Bones recognizes the purpose of instilling patriotism or partaking in a unifying activity, these motivations are no longer applicable.
“I think if you have to remind yourself of your patriotism by saying some words to a flag, you have a bigger problem that cannot be fixed by saying a problem in front of a flag,” Bones said. “Having a mandatory discussion about what people believe America is or what it stands for would do a lot more for the unity of a group than just standing in front of a flag and saying some words.”
Roden, however, believes unifying the country is particularly valuable, especially in today’s tumultuous setting.
“[We are] at a time in our history where so many have divided themselves,” Roden said. “We could use something to unite us as one nation again. That is the only way this great country will succeed, we cannot go on divided.”
Roden also mentions that the Pledge is completely optional and not required for students, a point Bones considers to be moot.
“If we sat down for the Pledge of Allegiance when the people around you or the entire class is saying it, you might be judged, and I don’t think any law can take that out of society,” Bones explained.
For Burnam, however, sitting down and not participating as athletes like Kaepernick choose to do is unacceptable.
“Men fought so that our flags could fly high and sitting down during these activities does not honor their memory,” Burnam said. “I believe that our heritage and the memory of those who fight to protect us is more important than 30 seconds of silence at the beginning of a day.”
video directed, edited and produced by Cam Fuller