Special meeting called to discuss a possible reinstatement of the Pledge of Allegiance

Fargo School Board meeting on August 9, 2022. where the issue surrounding the Pledge of...
Fargo School Board meeting on August 9, 2022. where the issue surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance was discussed.(Valley News Live)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:31 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:14 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fargo School Board President Tracie Newman is calling for a special meeting to discuss a motion to reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school board’s regular meetings.

On Tuesday, August 9, in a 7-2 vote, the Fargo School Board moved to not recite the Pledge before their meetings.

They didn’t used to say it, either. Back in February, a motion to have the Pledge recited at the meetings died for a lack of a second, but it later passed in March. Board Vice President Seth Holden then requested that the issue be discussed again at the board meeting on August 9th, after hearing comments from the board members and the public, when they voted not to say the pledge.

Holden says the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t align with the school district’s diversity, equity and inclusion values.

The decision to not say the Pledge doesn’t sit well with all who attended Tuesday’s board meeting. Paulson said, “The pledge isn’t a show of our patriotism, it’s an affirmation of a our commitment to a greater cause, and that cause is freedom.”

Since the decision to stop saying the Pledge at board meetings, Fargo Public Schools was met with national and local backlash. Gov. Doug Burgum is working on legislation mandating the opportunity for elected governing bodies to say the Pledge before meetings. The issue even was brought to the attention of a nationally known country music duo and appeared on national TV.

The special meeting to reconsider the Pledge at board meetings will be held on Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. at the District Office Board Room.

We asked Newman to elaborate on the reason for the change of heart, but she politely declined additional comment until the meeting.

You can read the full memo here: https://www.fargo.k12.nd.us/cms/lib/ND01911460/Centricity/domain/121/meetings2022/8-18-22/14_Pledge_of_Allegiance.pdf

On Tuesday, August 16th, Valley News Live reached out to 25 school districts in North Dakota and Minnesota, to learn if they say the Pledge before board meetings. Only 7 have responded. Of those, 5 say the pledge. Two do not, but one of those two is now considering adding the pledge, following the drama in Fargo.

A check of the reported minutes of local school board meetings suggests many school districts do not say the Pledge before board meetings.

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