The Sioux Falls School District in Sioux Falls, S.D., says it is considering changing its policy and high school students will be asked to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day, after more than two weeks of controversy over the issue.
According to ArgusLeader.com, the school board unanimously voted for the revision of the policy Monday, which now requires all grade levels to recite the Pledge, but states that no student will be forced to be a part of it.
The board surveyed 10,000 parents and guardians earlier this week for feedback on the pledge policy, which requires the oath to be recited every day in elementary and middle schools, but not daily in high schools. At the high school level, the pledge is recited only during group activities or assemblies.
The phone survey yielded 3,500 responses, with 70 percent in favor of a daily recital of the pledge, ArgusLeader.com reported.
"The easy thing for us to do would have been to set our feet and dig in our heels and say, 'Absolutely, we're going to stick with what we did,’” School Board Vice President Kent Alberty said. “But we felt that it was important to get information from the people that we serve."
But Alberty also said that he has been "the victim of the most horrible kinds of bullying that I have ever encountered in my entire life."
As a result, I have a much better understanding of what our students go through when they are bullied via phone calls, in person, via Internet or cyberbullying, or with voicemails left by people who refuse to identify themselves."
There was a flurry of criticism nationwide and some board members were receiving death threats, prompting officials to remove members’ phone numbers from the school district’s website.
A number of Sioux Falls veterans were present during the board meeting, including Jim Boorman, who initially asked board members to expand the policy to make it mandatory for high school students to recite the pledge every day, thanked the board for the revision and also apologized.
"I represent many more people in our community than when I was here the first time," he said. "I apologize for the hardships the board members and their families, during this campaign, experienced. That was not our intent; that was not our style. We don't do sniping, we don't do drive-bys. We stop, and we care for the situation."