SoPo High School students criticized for pledge | News

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SoPo High School students criticized for pledge
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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- At South Portland High School, three students are facing criticism for giving students the option not to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Ever since I was in kindergarten, you just say the pledge and that is that. No one ever asks any question," said senior Morrigan Turner.

Across the country schools begin their morning reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Turner, Student Body President Lily SanGiovanni and fellow senior Gaby Ferrell discovered under Maine law it is optional if a student wants to recite the pledge. SanGiovanni began adding "if you'd like to" before she led the school's pledge.

"We are not doing this because we hate America or anything. We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn't," explained SanGiovanni.

Not everyone agreed with her action. Shortly after, Principal Ryan Caron was receiving emails questioning whether the phrase "if you'd like to" should be used and people took to social media to ridicule the girls.

"I asked Lily to stop saying the four words, not related to the community pressure, but more related to the process that we have here," said Principal Ryan Caron.

Caron told the students they would need to present their plan to the school board and have the phrase approved.

"The fact that I was asked to take away the 'If you would like to,' I felt like they were asking me to take away the law," said SanGiovanni.

The students did admit this opened up a conversation they otherwise would not have had. The three students have discussed the situation with faculty members, some who served in the military, and students who were offended by the additional phrase.

"We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn't," said SanGiovanni.

"I don't feel the need to say it everyday and that's my choice and we don't want to influence anyone else's choice," said Gaby Ferrell.

Lily continues to lead the morning announcements including the Pledge of Allegiance. She and the other students are planning on presenting their idea of including the words "if you'd like to" as students are invited to recite the pledge.


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