Wisconsin School Board Member Raises Issue With Pledge of Allegiance’s “Under God”

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A Wisconsin school board member is raising questions about the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.

Jeremy Ratliff, elected to the Merrill Area Public Schools Board last April, led the initiative at a recent meeting.

Ratliff was speaking on behalf of parents who took issue with a certain phrase in the Pledge.

“He just indicated that he had parents that were concerned about that statement ‘under God’”, said Merrill superintendent Wally Leipart to WAOW. “It was brought up that there may be an interest in having a conversation.”

In a phone conversation, Ratliff only said he was addressing the concerns of his constituents.

Students are not required to take part in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Wisconsin. School officials have taken heed to these requests.

“We’ve had students both say, ‘Yeah, no problem, I’ll go ahead and stand, but I don’t want to recite the Pledge,’ and we’ve had others that have said, ‘No, I don’t want to stand either,’ and we always give them the opportunity to express themselves in the way they see fit,” said Leipart.

Given the small opposition to the phrase, the Merrill Area Public Schools Board may not need to deliberate on the issue at all.

Leipart told WAOW that the school board would inform individuals opposed to reciting the Pledge of the process for opting out of the practice.

The words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in June 1954 by a joint resolution of Congress. The phrase was a means of distinguishing between the United States government and its transgressor, “godless Communism.”

A 2014 survey found that one-third of Americans want the words “Under God” removed from the Pledge, reported The Washington Times.

Four states, Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, and Wyoming, do not require schools to allot time for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.


Sources: Take Part, The Washington Times, WAOW, Merrill Foto News, Encyclopedia Britannica