Parents, School Dispute Over Pledge of Allegiance
The parents of a six-year-old New Town boy, backed by national atheist group American Humanist Association, are in a dispute with the boy's school concerning whether or not he should be pressured to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom each morning.
Jesse Moore, the boy's father, complains that officials at the school have tried forcing his son to stand during the Pledge, instead of simply sitting quietly, as he would rather do. If he does not comply, he is punished by being made to stand outside the classroom.
Moore and the American Humanist Association claim that this violates the boy's First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of conscience.
David Niose, director of the association's Humanist Legal Center, has sent a letter to the school stating such.
In the school's defense, Superintendent Marc Bluestone says that the boy has been asked to step outside only to avoid the disruption caused by the other kids wondering why he's not standing -- not as a punishment.
From a more personal standpoint, as a veteran, Bluestone "feels strongly about the importance of teaching children to be patriotic," as the Bismarck Tribune reports.
School officials are currently in talks with the district's attorney regarding the matter.