School Board Meets to Discuss Pledge

November 10, 2010 Updated Nov 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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November 10, 2010 Updated Nov 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM EDT

NORTH COLLINS, NY (WKBW) - The North Collins board of education started their work session Tuesday Night with the pledge of allegiance. It's the pledge that has several community members upset.

Schools throughout our area usually start the day the same way, with morning announcements and the pledge to the flag. At the North Collins Elementary School, a sixth grader makes the announcements and then asks the children to stand for the pledge of allegiance. The student then recites the first six words of the pledge..."I pledge allegiance to the flag"...at that point the microphone is turned off. Each classroom teacher then has the ability to finish the pledge at the pace appropriate for the age of the students. The building houses preschool through sixth grade.

School Superintendent Benjamin Halsey says that some in the community do not like the system that is in place, "There is concern from a group of people that it is being disrespectful by not finishing the pledge over the public address system. It has kind of taken on so controversy that we are not saying the pledge. That is simply not the case."

The meeting brought out a kindergarten teacher who thinks the pledge should be carried across the PA system...at a slower pace...so everyone can do it in unison. Lloyd Quiter is a member of the local American Legion and the VFW. He's talked to dozens of vets about the controversy, "We are only saying that the pledge is being taught. It is being implemented by the school. There doesn't seem really be a problem other than being other than being over the PA system."

For now, the board of education plans to take no action to change the way the pledge of allegiance is recited in the elementary school. But, a group of citizens says they will continue to work toward a policy change.