Students Rights with Repect to the Pledge of Allegiance at School

"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)

Public school students, like all Americans, have a right to freedom of conscience. Knowledge of your rights is an important tool for protecting yourself against abuses by school officials.

Students Rights- Your rights, under Federal law, include the following:

  • Participation is completely voluntary for both students and teachers. You may not be instructed, coaxed or asked to recite the Pledge. Teachers and staff members can be fired for doing this. Just because a teacher chooses to participate (or not participate) in the Pledge does not mean that you must do what the teacher does.

  • Your options include:
    - standing silently
    - sitting silently
    - reciting only a portion of the Pledge
    - being excused from class (with teacher permission)

  • You cannot be required to leave the room when others are saluting the flag if you choose not to.

  • You do not have provide a reason for not participating.

  • You cannot be punished, penalized or criticized by school staff, in any manner, for not participating.

  • You cannot be harrassed or teased by other students for not participating.

  • Parental permission is not required for a student to exercise the right of conscience to refrain from the Pledge.

  • School staff may not inform your parents about whether you are or are not participating in the Pledge.