Earlier this week, during broadcast, Anne noticed that a couple of her students refrained from standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. They remained sitting. Later, she asked these individuals about this and was told, “I don’t like the Pledge of Allegiance.” It soon became clear that they were protesting. She suggested that they kneel, like the football player do, because if you sit, then no one knows if you are trying to make a point or not. The next day they knelt.
Yesterday, with her hand over her heart, Anne also knelt and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. After broadcast she led a class discussion about these actions. Some students spoke of racial injustice and others of respect for the flag. The third graders were able to hold a deep and respectful discussion, even when they disagreed. One student pointed out that in church, we kneel to God. Anne explained her actions. She feels that the pledge’s promise, “with liberty and justice for all”, is not honored and should be and until it is this contradiction should be protested. Later, another teacher told Anne of another sitting that had occurred in her room.
In many jobs, Anne’s actions could be grounds for dismissal, but in teaching it is another educational moment. Current 3rd grade curriculum includes lessons in restorative justice. I’ve always respected Anne, she is the angel of my better nature and I cannot contain the pride that I feel, being married to this woman.
When Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the National Anthem and this year when many other NFL players took a knee, President Trump reacted in his usual manner. I’m sure he was pleased with the response from his base, but I am unsure about how he feels now that these issues have percolated down to the 3rd grade. It is not going away folks. Not in my lifetime, not in his and probably not in yours either. Maybe, it is time that we all start dealing with it?