A Wisconsin high school has been accused of omitting "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance on at least two separate occasions during morning announcements, purportedly replacing the term with "peace" or removing it all together.
While the motivation is still not clear, the Madison Metropolitan School District confirmed in an interview with Wisconsin's Star Tribune that there were two separate occasions in March during which the pledge was recited inaccurately by students at East High School in Madison, Wisconsin.
On the first day "under God" was completely removed and on the second day the words "under peace" were swapped in, according to district spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson. She said that the students were spoken with afterwards, though it is unclear whether the removals were initially permitted.
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"Both students were followed up with," Strauch-Nelson told the Star Tribune.
She also rebuffed claims that the school had previously not been reciting the pledge daily, claiming that it has always been a part of the academic day at East High School.
The debate over the pledge began after Benji Backer, a 16-year-old conservative activist, wrote an article for RedState claiming he received an email from a student at the school in question. This student, Samantha Murphy, reportedly claimed that the pledge had been amended and that it was not recited daily until January 2013, according to the Christian Post.
Becker wrote: "Just last month, Samantha Murphy, a brave high school junior at Madison East High School, emailed me. In her freshman year, Madison East did not offer the Pledge every morning. Her family decided to talk to the principal and school board, reminding them that it is a state law to offer the Pledge every day."
The issue is complex, considering that the students who recited the amended pledge might have done so in an effort to validate their own beliefs, particularly if they are atheists or do not believe that God should be invoked in the Pledge of Allegiance.
T.J. Mertz, a member of the school board, told the Star Tribune that it's unclear whether the students were acting based on their beliefs, though he supports both their right and Murphy's right to speak out on the matter.
"We want our students to be self-advocating and have beliefs," Mertz told the outlet. "I support them acting on their beliefs."
This is not the first time debate over the Pledge of Allegiance has broken out in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Officials debated whether to include the recitation in schools back in 2001, eventually deciding to keep it based on a state law requiring its inclusion in schools.
This most recent debate comes after research released last week found that the vast majority of Americans support keeping "under God" in the pledge. Read about the results and the complex history of the recitation here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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