Several teenage girls in a Maine high school have come under fire recently for calling to attention a state law that allows students to opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
At South Portland High School, Senior Class President Lily SanGiovanni would often lead her fellow students in the pledge. However, trouble started when she began to add the words "if you'd like to" prefacing the oath.
According to SanGiovanni, Senior Class Vice President Morrigan Turner, and their friend Gaby Ferrell, they began to seriously think about the issue when a few teachers started to make students feel "uncomfortable for not conforming," according to Yahoo News.
Upon further independent research, the trio discovered that Maine state law only requires schools to allow students the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance and "may not require a student to recite" it.
Speaking to local station WCSH, SanGiovanni recognized how the oath might not mean as much for others as it does for some students in the school.
"We are not doing this because we hate America or anything," she told reporters. "We are really doing this because we understand there are people who choose to say the pledge and it means a lot to them and for others it doesn't."
Despite their good intentions, the young ladies have received backlash for their decision.
Taking to social media to voice their concerns, the critics of the move have been lambasting the girls and sending emails to the school in order to air out their grievances.
"There were some people saying we should go to Syria and Russia or Afghanistan and that will change us," Turner told reporters. "It's really hard to hear that coming from your community."
Despite the efforts of the girls, the principal at the school requested that SanGiovanni stop saying "if you'd like to" due to school procedure.
"From the high school's perspective, this is a procedure issue. I don't have an issue with the girls," Principal Ryan Caron told Yahoo News. For now, the teens are planning to present their issue to the school board in order to continue saying those words, Caron said.
"The fact that I was asked to take away the 'if you would like to' I felt like they were asking me to take away the law," SanGiovanni said.
Source: Yahoo News Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons