I began to sit for the Pledge when sports players began to take a knee for the National Anthem because they were bothered by the events happening in the country. I began to sit because I am bothered by the people in the country and the events happening.
RN - ARKANSAS
I’m sitting here in tears right now. I can not thank you enough. I was so upset and I thought I was alone. It feels good to know that I'm not. And that I can let my son know he doesn't have to be ashamed of who he is and that there really are people out there who will support him.
LM - TENNESSEE
We did have the meeting with [the school] this morning. It was great! They apologized to my son and I. [School officials] said they were not aware of the law and they will change their policy. It is obvious to me that the principal is very religious. They did not ask, but as an Atheist I felt a need so I did explain the reasons for my son sitting it out and that we in no way are trying to offend people of different beliefs or veterans.... Thank you so much for all the help you have given us! ...That was a lot of work on your part and I appreciate it more than I can say!!
KH - ILLINOIS
Not only have you helped me out sir but many other people in the school! I have no idea why you care so much about other people but again thank you and continue to think free!
NM - NEW YORK
A few days ago I had a sub and he got so mad at me when I sat out that he called me out in front of the whole class. So as a girl with severe social anxiety, I started shaking a little so he was like, 'WHY DIDN'T YOU STAND, YOU'RE SO DISRESPECTFUL, I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU,' blah, blah, stuff like that. At this point, I was red and my whole body was shaking and I was about to break down until he asked me why I sat. And here I was like, 'OK, I did my research, I got this,' so I did. I told him about how it was my First Amendment right to sit out if I please and how 'under god' was discriminating against me because I'm an atheist. And after that he was almost speechless, so he just nodded and sat down to take attendance. And the whole class was in, like, disbelief that the quite girl who sits alone in the corner just did all of that, and I even had a girl from the front of the room talk to me about how awesome what I did was and how she's always too scared to sit out of the Pledge. And I was just so proud of myself that day.
EK - MICHIGAN
I feel that our current pledge of allegiance is an archaic remnant of our old fascist Maccarthyist America. I stopped standing for the pledge because I am a socialist. "One nation under God" is something straight out of Nazi Germany. I've gotten a lot of dirty looks from classmates as well as being told I HAVE to stand. When the last bell signalling that you should be in class rings, they instruct us to stand. If I am outside a classroom I am told to stop and salute the flag. I'd rather just get to class to resume my education.
JH - CALIFORNIA
I started sitting for the pledge a few weeks ago, and it wasn't long before I started getting serious backlash from my peers. They kept telling me that it's disrespectful to sit because it's like I'm disrespecting the troops that risk their lives for me and apparently I should be grateful that I "live in the greatest country in the world." This has caused a school-wide debate, and I was constantly getting messages from people at my school (some I didn't even know) giving me their opinion. Little do they know that they really, really do not understand the true meaning and history of the flag. I'm only 15, almost 16, and I'm proud to say that I'm not conforming to social normalities, and I'm taking a stand, most likely alone, by sitting down during the pledge.
KL - OHIO
My closest friend has been sending you emails asking for the support of you and The Appignani Humanist Legal Center in regards to the matter. A few minutes ago, I finished reading the draft letter and I needed to personally write to you myself to express my gratitude. Never would I have imagined this situation would escalate as much as it did. When I had made the decision not to stand that day, I had done so under the impression that no controversy would arise from it, considering I was well aware that I was protected by my First Amendment right. Since then I have been singled out, intimidated, and demeaned for not standing for something I do not believe in...
I appreciate all you have done for [my friend and me] with your letter. We have been atheists for the longest time and have always questioned the morality and legality of forcing students to stand for the pledge, but until now have not taken any type of stand about it for fear of repercussion. Thanks to you I was able to breathe a sigh of relief for the first time in days after so much stress and frustration over all of this. I hope this is a sign of things finally coming to a close and the continuation of our normal high school lives.
SN - INDIANA
[My friend] and I are satisfied with the response... Most importantly, [our teachers] may have newly enlightened understandings of students rights and how to be truly respectful of them. Thank you very much.
ST - CALIFORNIA
Thank you! I appreciate your organization for doing this for so many people.
CN - WEST VIRGINIA
Wow! That was more than I had hoped for! The mentor teacher was removed from the classroom as of Monday... We are very pleased with everything that has happened. Thank you, and your staff, so much for stepping into my daughter's corner. Y'all are awesome, and I am so glad that your organization is here to help the little guy out.
NP - TEXAS
On my first day I was hesitant to sit down. But I got the initiative to do it by keeping myself in my seat. My teacher told me to stand up, but I told her it was my constitutional right to sit out the Pledge according to the First Amendment, free speech. Also I told her about the court case, and she never bothered me about it for the rest of the school year.
HL - FLORIDA
I received a call from the assistant principal yesterday afternoon, informing me that the teacher, himself, and the school had been ignorant of the rights [student] was exercising in refusing to stand for the Pledge. He said steps were being taken to inform teachers of the correct way to deal with students refusing to pledge in the future. I was also informed that [student] would not be suspended and the referral would be removed from her record. He was very sorry for all the trouble...
I completely attribute this response to your organization's intervention. The letter I sent last week was completely ignored. Without your letter I would have had very little recourse. You made a very big difference to my daughter and my family. You did an amazing thing for [student]. Thank you for helping her to stand up for her principles.
EF - FLORIDA
I graduated in 2011, but I distinctly remember being treated differently because I refused to stand during the Pledge. I was never disrespectful while the Pledge was being recited and would quietly remain in my seat until everyone else had finished, but some of my teachers sent me to the hall as punishment, the guidance office asked if I needed help, they lectured me for not participating and even wrote home to my mother, who is also an atheist and understood my reason for sitting out. On multiple occasions I attempted to explain to my teachers that I wasn't a believer in God and that was why I preferred not to participate. Even after their attempting to change my behavior, I kept my seat. The most memorable moment I had was in my junior year. I had homeroom with my English teacher, who would frantically motion to me from across the classroom in an attempt to get me to stand, and she ended up missing half the Pledge because she was too preoccupied with me...She pulled me out of the class one day to speak with me about my 'lack of patriotism,' and I remember that I had been waiting for the day that someone accused me of something along those lines. I told her that my father served in the Marine Corps for four years and my grandfather served in the Air Force and the Marine Corps for a total of 45 years in service and retired with the honor of being the oldest active duty Marine at the time of his retirement and even got a building at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., named in his honor. It was not that I was being unpatriotic--it was me standing for my beliefs and that it was those two words, 'under God,' that I refused to recite the Pledge as a whole because it wasn't fair. After I told her that, she almost looked embarrassed but never wasted another moment of her time trying to change my ways. I still had teachers my senior year who had problems with my choice but never pursued me so persistently as that one woman .
I have been doing this for a while--sitting down once the loudspeaker comes on--and the first time I did it, a few students criticized me for not saying the Pledge because of the 'under God' part of it. They thought I was a Satanist or something, and once I corrected them, telling them I was an atheist, things started going downhill. Fast-forward to the present day and they have finally accepted the concept of me not believing in a god, and a few other students even started refusing the Pledge. When I saw this site, I was relieved to see that finally a group in a position of power decided to take a stand. Thank you for encouraging me and many others to continue this boycott for human rights.
ED - MINNESOTA
I attended a graduation ceremony with a friend of mine who had a graduating brother in the throng of accomplished youth. When the master of ceremonies asked that the crowd stand to recite the Pledge, I firmly remained seated in that bleacher seat. As the entire crowd around me stood to receite a religious, fundamentally anti-American Pledge, I drew looks of ire from the parents and others in attendance. I drew these looks for refusing to allow the government of this great land to infuse our culture with overt religious preferences.
GL - CALIFORNIA
After school, I come across a YouTube video about boycotting the Pledge. I got interested, read some more, visited the website, and the next day I went to school and I had an assembly. A staff person told everyone to stand up to say the Pledge. I didn't stand up, and one of the teachers comes up to me and says to 'stand up' and I refused. The teacher asked me again to 'stand up' and I refused. I mentioned to her that I didn't want to stand up because I wasn't comfortable to recite the Pledge. The staff took me out of the gym and brought me to the office and I got suspended for two days...While I was suspended, my friends and other classmates from school started posting that they had gotten a few others involved into not saying the Pledge. By the third day I came back to school to seeing people come up to me and tell me how brave I was to start a 'boycott.' My friends had gotten other classmates involved by not reciting the Pledge and I just couldn't believe it.
RS - CALIFORNIA
I haven't stood for the Pledge since freshman year in high school...I have always been respectful and quiet during the Pledge and kept my act of sitting down to myself. I have even had teachers agree with me for not standing because even they said it was cult-like and compromise American cultural values of separation of church and state., and taking action against something you disagree with is a very patriotic thing to do. This year in government class, my teacher said to me the first day of class, 'I would like you to stand for the Pledge.' My reply was, 'I'm not required to stand or say it.' 'I'm not requiring you to, I'm asking you to.' Okay, well, this obviously gives me choice (not that I require him to grant me choice) in the way he worded it, so I choose not to. The next class day he took me outside and started to talk to me about how other people who sat for the Pledge compromised and stood and didn't say anything. He started to talk about how it's honoring the flag and dead soldiers, etc. I said that I have a brother in the military and you don't need to stand and recite a distorted Pledge to show that you have honor and respect for fallen soldiers. My grandfather fought in the Pacific, my other grandfather came here from Russia-occupied Czechoslovakia and discovered new opportunity and life in America.
AM - CALIFORNIA
So I haven't stood for the Pledge since 8th grade...Well, as everyone was sitting back down, someone across the room whispers to his table, 'I hate people with no respect for our country. How terrible do you have to be to not stand?' I looked him in the eyes and said, Terrible enough to want to reunite our country. He was silent. I have heard of a teacher in my school that makes you stand, but as far as I know, no one else but me and 3 other people sit. So he doesn't have to enforce it. So that's my story.
Thank you for being there. I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode. You helped me feel sane and not alone.
Thank you so much for what you did. I can't tell you how amazing it was for you to help me out there...I appreciate it so much.
JS - VIRGINIA
Thank you for your help with my school issue. You didn't have to help, but you helped a high school become a better place.
For years, I have refused to participate in the Pledge every morning. I have been taken out of class by many different teachers and asked to explain myself. My answer is always that I do not believe in pledging my allegiance to a piece of cloth. I believe that the Pledge of Allegiance is very un-American, it goes against the basic American values of freedom and independence, of religion, as well as freedom in general. To protest, I am using the opportunity of a speech for English class to voice my opinion and attempt to sway some of my classmates to aid me in boycotting the Pledge. Thank you for helping me to stand up by sitting down.
I've questioned the Pledge since about fourth grade. I would think, 'Why is "under god" in there when some people don't believe in god?' I haven't said the Pledge since about sixth grade. I used to stand up and not say it, but now I just stay seated. One student every day asked me (and still does) why I didn't stand and said I was being disrespectful. Sorry I'm disrespecting this peice of cloth by not saying a Pledge I shouldn't have to say. Another time my teacher told me, 'You don't have to say the Pledge, but at least stand up.' I remained seated and told her telling me that is unconstitutional. I continue to get weird looks when I proudly stay seated for the Pledge.
BP - VIRGINIA
A couple of kids looked at me weird at first, a few asked me what was going on. Most of the eyes have stopped. . . I feel empowered, though, like I'm in on something special and meaningful.
AB - PENNSYLVANIA
We had a good discussion with the principal, and he is including training on the subject in his staff training next week. Thank you again. The letter really helped!
KD - ARIZONA
The quote 'under God' turns the Pledge from a patriotic saying into a prayer. Prayers are for church, not for school. So my friends and I sat down. We attempted to do this last week, but we didn't have enough courage. Today, after finding this site, we did and now my friend is excited that we could start something big.
CP - NEW MEXICO
I didn't stand for a week straight, and the next week my teacher comes up to me and says, 'I'll just bring a retired veteran in with no arms and legs and see how you feel.' And I told him that my whole family is retired veterans and they told me i don't have too stand, if you bring that veteran in, I still won't stand. You can't write me up or tell me to stand, because I don't have to. I think the whole thing is just dumb.
Prior to sitting out, I have always stood but remained silent. It wasn't until after I thought of the mindless message and conformity it was preaching that I remained seated. I have only done it once, but the first reaction from my teacher was a spiteful look and a class interruption where she told me if I were to remain seated again I would be forced to leave the class, as she was in charge and I had to abide by her rules. I informed her of the 1943 Supreme Court case that upheld the right to sit out, and she said, That doesn't matter in here, because I am the teacher. She got the principal, and the principal told her in our county I had every right to do so! The teacher only allowed me to continue sitting out because of that, saying because of county policy she had no choice. She refused to act civilized and accept that it was unconstitutional for her to impose her beliefs and told me to watch my attitude and truly think about my disrespectful behavior. Needless to say I will continue to sit and will debate her and combat conformity.
JF- NORTH CAROLINA
They removed by suspension and I'm back in my class. There shouldn't be any more conflict. Thanks for the help!
I didn't stand up for the Pledge. I was in US history and we just finished up learningthe Amendments and I was sitting down. The teacher motioned for me to stand up and I gave her that look. During the moment of silence, she told me to go to the hallway. After the announcements were over, she went outside and asked me why I didn't pledge. I told her exactly this and also loud enough for the kids next door to hear: 'I have a right not to and you can't make me. I have the First Amendment right by my side, and you can't do nothing about it.' She looked awestruck and hasn't said anything about it.
I was called into the office today and was told that my teacher had been spoken to, and that I would not only be allowed to enter my class tomorrow but continue to practice my beliefs as I see fit. I would like to express my gratitude for your help in resolving this matter. I was deeply concerned for my rights as well as my safety. Keep up the good work. The students need you!
I'd just like to thank you for all your efforts you guys have done. Not only for me but for others as well.
Thank you very much for your help. I'm forever in your debt.
I decided to stop standing up for the Pledge because it is my right, also because I felt that the whole Pledge thing and what it stood for was a bunch of bologna. 'Under God' excludes those who do not believe in God himself, and I am a Catholic who truly believes in God, but I can't support discrimination towards others. One day during my homeroom Spanish class, the teacher called me out, saying, 'It's very disrespectful not to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, for all the people that have given their life for this country.' And I knew it was directly pointed towards me since I was the ONLY one sitting down. But I haven't given in to peer pressure or teacher pressure. Screw that!
To my surprise, I started sitting out the Pledge, and the students and the teacher did nothing. I guess this is a slight improvement. The teacher knew I was an atheist and is very good. The kids never mentioned it, which was also good. Thank you.
I'd like to thank you for your time and patience on this matter. It taught me to stand up for or at least not be afraid to share my beliefs, and it gave me better understanding of society and law. Again, thank you for this occasion. It helped me out in more ways than one.
Read testimonials from your fellow students and parents.