Trinity Elementary School in New Rochelle, NY has reversed course on its decision to give teachers the option whether or not to have their classes recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day. For as long as anyone can remember, reciting the Pledge was part of the "morning announcements" over the school's public address system. Teachers and students in every classroom stood and recited the pledge together. Under the guise of "efficiency" the school changed the morning announcement routine, doing away with the Pledge of Allegiance, and leaving it up to teachers to decide whether or not to recite the pledge. Reports from the school indicate that some teachers opted not to recite the pledge in their class while some did so intermittently. After an outcry from some parents and residents, including here on Talk of the Sound, the school district beat a hasty retreat and reinstated the traditional policy within 24 hours of the story surfacing on Talk of the Sound.
The Pledge of Allegiance has become a source of some controversy at Trinity Elementary School over the past several years as the demographics of the school have shifted to become predominantly hispanic, with a large number of the students coming from families of recent immigrants. According to the most recent New York State School Report Card, hispanic or Latino students now compromise 48% of the student population although sources within district privately admit that figure is probably higher, above 50%. Overall the school is 81% "minority" students as white families have opted to send their children to private or parochial schools.
Although the issue has apparently been put to rest (sort of), it is worthy of a post for many reasons. One obvious reason is that people continue to discuss it. Another not so obvious is the power of parental/community involvement in addressing issues affecting the education of our children. We are referring to the discussion that began on Talk of the Sound about the temporary replacement of school wide morning announcements over the Public Address System at Trinity Elementary School, for some sort of computerized message board. From what we were told, since morning announcements were temporarily replaced by the computerized message board a on a trial basis, the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance became the responsibility of individual classroom teachers.
One of the Talk of the Sound Readers submitted the following e-mail:
Here is an email from late
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 17:38.
Here is an email from late this afternoon --
Date: Monday, April 27, 2009, 3:07 PM
As per a number of member's input, I hope this is helpful. Thank you for everyone's prompt attention to this matter. PTA members are heard and do make a difference.
Dear Colleagues; Good morning one and all. I am writing at this time to let you know that effective tomorrow, April 28th we will once again have our announcements over the Public Address System. We have been utilizing the computerized message board for the past few weeks in an attempt to limit the interruptions in class instruction time. Yet, it appears that we are hearing from students, parents and staff that there is a lack of uniformity related to these announcements and it is causing some gaps in information that we need to get to these three constituent groups. Additionally, there are some very strong feelings on the part of people that saying the Pledge in class is not as effective as saying it as a school together. I have suggested to both the building reps and the administration moving forward that this topic be one of continued exploration. There are many excellent suggestions that need to be further explored such as having announcements at a different time of day. After 18 years as a building administrator, I can assure you this is a common issue in all schools. I appreciate the dialogue that has taken place as we worked collaboratively to ease the issues surrounding announcements. However, beginning tomorrow morning we will go back to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and doing announcements via the P. A.
Richard A. McMahon
Trinity Elementary School of Communication Arts and Technology
180 Pelham Road
New Rochelle, New York 10805
1-914-576-4440 (Fax- 1-914-576-4266)
You may read previous comments posted here(click here) or add your own comments on the issue below this post.