Editorial: We sit for those who cannot stand

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Richard Mendiola
During the Pledge of Allegiance, many students students across different classrooms choose to not stand.

When we refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, we do not sit to disrespect the flag, but rather to respect those who are disrespected in this country.

Some sit with a clearer motive than others, like minorities whose groups have faced constant discrimination by law enforcement, the current president or some of his supporters. With the recent history of infamous police brutality incidents involving people of color, hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community and the ongoing political firestorm toward undocumented immigrants, it is easy to see why many students in a school as diverse as ours have chosen to protest by sitting down during the morning pledge.

All politics aside, if these minorities cannot expect to be treated like the majority, there is no reason why they shouldn’t engage in an act of peaceful protest in defense of their rights.

There is a clear distinction between a blatant act of disrespect against the U.S. flag and an act of peaceful protesting. Though both are completely constitutional under the First Amendment, an act like burning the flag would be disrespectful; refusing to stand up for it wouldn’t.

Other issues arise in the debate, like whether some students whose backgrounds are unaffected by controversial actions choose to sit in support of those around them or just out of pure laziness. These students who sit down must evaluate their true reasons for sitting and make the right decision. They should not be exempt from the pledge if they do not have a true reason to protest, unlike those who do have a valid reason and take the matter seriously.

Much like several National Football League players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, we believe that this form of protest is an effective way for people to express their opinion about how the country handles social issues. Though not as public as in a football stadium, students who sit during the morning pledge tell their peers that they or a significant other experience injustice in this country. Like responsible citizens should, they voice their concern for themselves and others in a peaceful and non-disrespectful manner.

As journalists, we emphasize our advocacy for free speech and our duty to voice our concerns. That being said, the morning pledge is something to be taken seriously as the flag symbolizes this country’s values for those rights and the people who fought for them. Therefore, if students choose to sit for the morning pledge, they should have a valid motive and be aware of their actions.