Board members of the Sioux Falls School District in Sioux Falls, S.D., voted unanimously Tuesday to not require high school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day. The board cited concerns about finding time during school hours for pupils to say it regularly.
“Just the challenge of being able to find a period within a high school day to be able to say it consistently appeared to be a challenge,” school board president Doug Morrison said, according to KELO-TV.
The vote came despite in-person pleas from a half-dozen veterans who attended the evening board meeting. One veteran, Dave Saunders, put worries about the time constraints of saying the pledge into perspective.
“Tonight, in this meeting, in front of the school board, we had a wounded veteran,” Saunders began. “It took him longer to get up, to get his crutches, and to walk out of the room, than it would have taken the students to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.”
Saying the pledge does, in fact, take about 10 seconds.
The Associated Press reported that the pledge was already a daily activity in the district’s elementary schools prior to Tuesday’s board meeting. The board voted to expand the daily recitation of the pledge to middle schools, but for now, it will continue to be said in high schools only during school-wide assemblies.
“[High school students] don’t have homeroom, but they do have assemblies, and the principals that were in the discussion with us talked about the assemblies and how it’s a much more somber moment during their assemblies when everyone is in the room,” board member Kate Parker told the AP.