A local news story in Western Pennsylvania involves a thirteen-year-old 8th grader who was disciplined for refusing (every day) to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The predictable result was an ACLU-backed lawsuit, followed by a total capitulation by the school district, whose Solicitor realized that this was a blatant violation of the girl's Constitutional rights. But I strongly disagree. School is a learning experience, where the students are taught not only factual matter, processes, and given information, but they are also indoctrinated (like it or not) into American civil society. "Allegiance" is something that is not discussed much - indeed it is anathema to Liberals - but it is a requirement of citizenship. We are obliged to be faithful to the sovereign (government). We cannot refuse to obey the laws, foment rebellion against the government, or abuse public officials. We cannot refuse to pay our taxes because we don't like what the Government does with them (we'll get thrown in jail and have to pay them anyway). The government has the right and the ability to conscript us into military service, and to throw us in prison if we fail or refuse to serve. We are free to disagree with our governments policies and laws, and to criticize our elected and appointed leaders, but the disagreement and criticism must be within legally defined limits. Allegiance to the country (or government) is not optional. Part of the teaching function of our public schools is to inform students of the obligations of citizenship, and to instill in them our shared values. Congress has formulated the Pledge of Allegiance and required that it be recited by school kids from time to time as a part of the learning experience. When this little twit is an adult she can refuse to recite the Pledge for the rest of her life. She can burn flags and criticize the government to heart's content. But is is a total distortion of reality to pretend that she has a "Constitutional" right to disrupt her classroom and refuse this obligation. If her parents don't want their daughter reciting the Pledge (and this obviously comes from them), they can take her out of the school and home-school her. I'd keep her in detention until she straightens out. Fuck the school district that caves in to this bullshit attack. They are too stupid to be teaching anyone anything.