‘Do you concede the battle to win the war?’: Fargo School Board says there is no room for hate as they reinstate Pledge of Allegiance

This issue only involves the Pledge at meetings. The Pledge has and will continue to be said in school.
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Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:39 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:52 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The Pledge of Allegiance will once again be said before Fargo School Board meetings, after an 8-to-1 vote at a special meeting tonight. This comes just over a week after a separate vote not to say it was met with national backlash.

“Do you concede the battle to win the war?” asks councilmember Seth Holden.

The Fargo School Board only started saying the Pledge of Allegiance back in April.

After the August 9th 7-to-2 vote to stop saying the Pledge, to have more time for their meeting, the issue got national attention.

Board members say they received hundreds of messages and voicemails, many from out of the area.

“Only 19% of the messages I received were from Fargo residents. Four out of every five messages came from people I was not elected to represent,” says councilmember Greg Clark.

“This special meeting has not been called in response to the threatening, hateful, lude, vile, and racist emails and voicemails that have been received. FPS has a zero tolerance policy around bullying, and it will not be accepted by this board,” says board president Dr. Tracie Newman.

Board member Nyamal Dei played a voicemail she says is representative of the kind she’s received.

The voicemail plays as follows: “Should’ve figured a black *** wouldn’t have voted for the pledge of allegiance for school. Listen ***, you weren’t a slave, no one you know was a *** slave, no one alive owned a *** slave. If you don’t like the pledge of allegiance because it hurts your little black feelings, you’re a *** *** fascist *** Nazi. Now, you are marked.”

Board members say the school couldn’t even answer the phone for two days, because of the barrage of phone calls. At least one board member has filed a police report.

“Hate has no place in the Fargo community I can tell you that. I will not tolerate it myself,” says Dei.

Some of the board members say they believe many local people supported their decision to not say the Pledge, but are worried about all the negative attention that decision drew.

“Very concerned about the image of our district right now. I’m wondering if reinstating will change that image or not,” says Holden.

“Personally, I think the decision we made to no longer say it was the appropriate decision. For those of you who want to send more hate emails, feel free to do it,” says councilmember Jim Johnson.

Ultimately, all but one board member, including six of the seven who voted to stop saying the pledge, decided to start saying it once again.

“I would like to apologize to the good people of Fargo for what I’m about to do. In a few minutes, I’m going to vote to reinstate the pledge of allegiance by people I was not elected to represent,” says Clark.

The 8-to-1 decision had Dei as the only member voting against. She’s the board member who received the message you heard or read, during the story.

This issue only involves the Pledge at meetings. The Pledge has and will continue to be said in school.

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