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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Emery School District To Investigate Loyalty Oath, God Indoctrination

School Board Considers Removing Loyalty Oath, God Praising At Schools

The Emery Unified School District school board announced at their regularly scheduled March 28th meeting, they will debate the prudence of continuation of the daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance for Emeryville's school children.  The board committed to engaging in a public debate on the merits of the pledge, essentially a loyalty oath, at a future to be announced meeting and possibly changing school district policy as a result.

The monotheistic god Zeus.
The State of California requires each school district have a daily policy of "patriotic" instruction and most districts statewide interpret this as a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.  The State makes no such claim however, opening up the possibility for other forms of patriotic instruction.  The official policy right now is that the Emery United School District allows each teacher discretion over the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Some pro-pledge parents invoke the State mandated "opt out" privileges that allow parents to have their children to sit quietly while the oath is administered but this has been shown to be a false choice, owing to the coercive nature of classroom interpersonal dynamics and child psychology.

School Board member Cheryl Webb questioned the need for the oath at the March 28th meeting and she indicated since the State of California doesn't require the district to administer the pledge with it's monotheistic god reference, perhaps Emeryville itself should opt out.  Ms Webb said it might be a "good idea" to stop the children's mindless recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and instead have the children learn the Articles of the US Constitution as a more educational implementation to satisfy Sacramento's patriotic instruction requirement.
Ms Webb noted she thinks Emeryville school children should be aware of the Pledge of Allegiance and even to know the words, just not the daily recitation of it, "It is a part of our culture" she intoned.

Zeus, doing the god thing.
Secular humanist parents have long called the Pledge of Allegiance a god indoctrination that has no place in public schools.  Secular and atheist parents have called the praising of god contained within the pledge a subversion of parental rights and an unnecessary and heavy handed government intrusion into inalienable parental rights to teach their children as they see fit about god.  The actual pledge itself, being a loyalty oath, is demonstrably counter to the district's goal of teaching children critical thinking skills.

Is this really what patriotism looks like?
While the School Board has promised to take up this issue, atheist and secular parents may have to wait some time for justice.  Board member Josh Simon acknowledged the importance of the issue but he noted the two most pressing agenda items before the board; the budget crisis and the selection of a new school superintendent, "Don't expect this to be resolved in the next month or two" he warned.  The Tattler will report any developments in this issue.  


  1. I think it would be OK to teach about god in public schools, as soon as we can teach about evolution in church

  2. I agree with this post 100%. Indoctrination has no place in schools, and religion should be taught as part of history class. (I’m not having kids of my own, but I do have a stake in these things insofar as I’d like to live in a society of curious, skeptical free-thinkers.)

  3. I have been an employee of the school district for nearly a decade, working at both sites, and never once, in all that time have I heard the pledge of allegiance, or anything like it.

    I have witnessed religion as fact as part of some teachers curriculum.

  4. The superintendent of the schools, John Sugiyama says the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary at Emeryville schools and some teachers do choose to administer it to the children.

    Teaching religion as history or other application in the humanities such as comparative religions is legal, any proselytizing of any faith in any public school is illegal.

  5. An alternative to the pledge: