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Nov 18

The Pledge

Somewhere along the line, Julianna stopped standing for the pledge of allegiance. I’m not sure when, but it probably happened during covid. I don’t know that she did it at Flagg Street. But she doesn’t stand in class for the pledge of allegiance now.

Julie, at Gates Lane, is a different kid in a lot of ways. More independent, more certain about what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s stronger. She’s seen some things, so to speak. And quite honestly, she resents standing to affirm her loyalty to a country that does not, in her opinion, stand for liberty and justice for all. While she believes in God, she’s aware that not everyone does, and also resents the exclusionary aspect of it. Not everyone believes in one country, under God.

So she doesn’t stand. Her homeroom teacher, this year, doesn’t appear to be all that hot and bothered by it, but her substitute yesterday does. The sub made a big deal about it – first yelling at the girls in the back row to stand, and when Julie still didn’t, she slammed her hands down on her desk and demanded that Julie stand up. Julie, who was quietly reading Anne of the Island, rolled her eyes and stood up, making it clear that she was continuing to read her book.

I checked with her teacher today, and verified that she does not, in fact, have to stand. And got assurance that her substitute teacher would be informed of that.

But it points to a larger issue, and it’s one that I’m recognizing more and more. My little Julie isn’t so little anymore. She’s got strongly formed, independent opinions, and is willing to stand up for them. Also – she’s nowhere near as afraid of teachers or other people in authority as she used to be. Julie doesn’t screw around. She’s tough and strong, and while I’d rather she not be rolling her eyes at her teachers, I’m not altogether unhappy that she did. The teacher was wrong – she was trying to intimidate Julie into some sort of performative patriotism, and Julie wasn’t having it.

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