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Hubbard student’s refusal to recite pledge draws in ACLU



Published: Wed, November 18, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Jon Moffett

Hubbard school officials have ‘dealt with’ the matter, the superintendent said.

HUBBARD — The American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio sent Hubbard school officials a letter Tuesday requiring the district to cease punishing students who refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

A female student at Hubbard High School was reprimanded for her refusal to recite or stand during the pledge.

Some students nationwide are refusing to recite the pledge because of personal beliefs.

“It was dealt with two weeks ago,” said Richard Buchenic, Hubbard schools superintendent. “We have a policy that states we will have teachers recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but students are not required to participate.”

Buchenic would not discuss the incident or the student, whose name was not disclosed.

But Buchenic did say he had spoken with officials from the ACLU, and the matter had been “dealt with.”

Carrie Davis, a staff counsel with the ACLU of Ohio, said the student, who she believes is a senior, was repeatedly punished.

“They [Hubbard High School] have the Pledge of Allegiance recited during their first-period class,” Davis said. “This student refused to stand up and was repeatedly written up and sent to the principal’s office, where she was lectured for refusing to stand.”

Davis said after speaking with Buchenic on Tuesday that she believed the superintendent would communicate the policy to the teachers, faculty, staff and students accordingly.

“We’re very glad to hear that the school has a policy and that they intend to follow that policy,” she said. “We will be staying in touch with that student to make sure she is not being punished further.”

This marks the second time in two days that a student has refused to stand for the pledge.

A 10-year-old boy from Arkansas recently announced his boycott of the pledge because the content, according to him, does not match up with how America is being run.

Will Phillips, of Westport, Ark., told CNN he, too, refused to recite the pledge.

According to an article from the news source, Will takes exception to the pledge’s last line, which reads: “liberty and justice for all.”

Will contends that until gays and lesbians are given equal rights, the pledge is fraudulent.

Davis said there hasn’t been an increase in the amount of cases the ACLU handles with regard to the pledge.

“I think it’s just coincidental that we have a couple happening at once,” she said.

She added that students have every right to refuse to recite the pledge if they have issues with it.

jmoffett@vindy.com


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