Edgerton School Board supports Spanish pledge reading

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Stacy Vogel
April 29, 2008
— The Edgerton School Board received an education itself Monday night during a debate about saying the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.

Speakers lectured on military history, the definition of “patriotism,” the state of the War on Terror and even the language of the Bible as they argued why Edgerton High School students should or should not be allowed to recite the pledge in Spanish over the intercom.

Sandra Moninger, an Air Force veteran, offered a history of the pledge. It was written in 1892, she said, and the words “under God” were added in 1954 to distinguish American democracy from the “godless Communists.”

Moninger said she fought to protect America’s freedoms, including the freedoms of speech and education.

“It is not the words but the meaning behind the words that mean the most to me as a veteran,” she said.

Myron Cobb, a Marine Corp veteran, said he learned Vietnamese when fighting in Vietnam so he could talk to the countrymen. He said people who come to America should learn English.

“I believe that the Pledge of Allegiance was designed as American, should be said as American, and America speaks English,” he said.

The controversy started in March after Edgerton High School allowed students from a Spanish class to say the pledge in Spanish over the intercom. Normally, the pledge is recited over the intercom in English each morning.

Todd Dix, a parent and veteran, contacted the school and local newspapers to express his anger. He later met with Principal Jim Halberg, who agreed that if the pledge is said in Spanish in the future, it also will be said in English either before or after.

The school board expressed satisfaction with the compromise Monday night after hearing nearly 90 minutes of debate. They voted unanimously to affirm Halberg’s decision and leave the subject in the hands of administrators.

“That’s what we hire administrators for is to make good practical decisions,” board member Jim Raymond said.

During his speech, Halberg cleared up what he said were misconceptions about the incident. The pledge had only been said once in Spanish at the high school this year, and the students meant no disrespect to the flag, veterans or the country, he said.

In fact, Edgerton High School offers many activities honoring veterans, including a Veterans Day assembly, an annual senior trip to Washington, D.C., and fund raising to erect veterans memorials in the hallways, Halberg said.

“Our students say the pledge with pride every single morning of the school year,” he said. “To them, this was just another way of showing respect to our country.”

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