State of Florida overrules Citrus County School Board on Pledge of Allegiance issue

Citrus County School Board Chamber Room

Inverness, FL–During the Citrus County School Board Workshop Tuesday morning, School Board Members discussed a change in student policy concerning the Pledge of Allegiance, and standing during that time.

According to School Board Member Doug Dodd, such a change is disheartening, and he was not sure if he would vote to support such a change.

Attorney Wes Bradshaw recommended that the School Board Members pass language consistent with Florida Statute 1003.44. Florida Statute 1003.44 now mandates that “Each student shall be informed by a written notice published in the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s. 1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in reciting the pledge. Upon written request by his or her parent, the student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart.”

School Board Members vehemently disagree with the statute; however, Florida law is clear.

The discussion this morning focused on the language required in the statute for the Citrus County Code of Conduct for students. Further discussion will occur in the next weeks and the language will be finalized. Members discussed referencing the statute in the Code of Conduct and requiring a letter from a parent before any child can sit during the Pledge of Allegiance.

What is clear today is that the Citrus County School Board is not in favor of allowing students to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance. Florida Legislators have tied the hands of local school boards by passing statewide legislation mandating changes in all areas of education, including the Pledge of Allegiance, and often times local school board officials are powerless to stand up against statewide measures that are in direct opposition to the standards of the local community.

Submitted by: Dawn Jaglowski, Investigative Reporter
Suncoast Standard, All Rights Reserved, (C) April 25, 2017, 1:09 PM

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