An Atlanta charter school reinstated the morning Pledge of Allegiance after parents and politicians swiftly condemned the school’s decision.
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School (ANCS) Principal Lara Zelski announced in early August the school would replace a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the school’s morning meeting with a “school pledge” to promote “inclusion” among the student body. Zelski added that students would have the opportunity to recite the pledge in individual classrooms.
But the proposal quickly backfired on the school when parents received word of the change, prompting politicians such as Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) to denounce the school’s decision.
“I’m sure our House Education Committee will examine whether taxpayer funds should be used to instill such a divisive ideology in our students,” Ralston told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I agree with Speaker Ralston that we must determine if our hard-earned tax dollars are best used at a school that forces young Georgians to adopt anti-American ideology,” Kemp said in a statement. “This ill-advised, divisive decision reflects poorly on our state and our values.”
The school quickly scrubbed Zelski’s announcement from its website amid the outcry and replaced it with a statement from the charter school’s governing board chairwoman, Lia Santos: “In the past, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited during our all-school morning meeting, but at the start of the school year, the daily practice was moved to classrooms. This change was done in compliance with state law … and aligned Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School with most other schools in the state who also say the Pledge of Allegiance in individual classrooms. However, it appears there was some miscommunication and inconsistency in the rollout. Starting next week, we will return to our original format and provide our students with the opportunity to recite the Pledge during the all-school morning meeting.”