To the editor:
This is in response to Kenneth Phipps' letter (Public Forum, June 9) concerning students refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school. He said school administrators should "stand up for what is right." I believe the administrators are doing the right thing by respecting the constitutional rights of students, including those who do not wish to say the pledge.
Phipps stated that Congress passed a resolution "that affirms the Pledge of Allegiance is a demonstration of a patriotic act, not a statement of religious faith." Be that as it may, students are still guaranteed the right to freedom of expression.
This means the government cannot tell you what to say or what not to say, and, hence, students have the right to refrain from saying the pledge if they do not wish to say it for religious, political or other reasons.
Phipps stated that citizenship should be promoted in school. Even if reciting the pledge were required, it would not make the students who are forced to say the Pledge better, more patriotic citizens. On the contrary, it would simply teach them that in our country, some authorities can disregard a student's civil rights if they feel the student's position is not patriotic.
Furthermore, one of the most patriotic things an American citizen can do is uphold the Constitution, which protects unpopular opinions as well as patriotic ones.