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Elementary School in Mt. Airy clears up confusion over student Pledge of Allegiance policy

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jun 07, 2024

MOUNT AIRY, Md. — A Frederick County Elementary school is clearing up some miscommunication over its Pledge of Allegiance policy for students and staff.

Back on April 26 administrators at Twin Ridge Elementary in Mount Airy, sent a weekly newsletter to staff reminding them of a school policy that requires participation in the Pledge of Allegiance.

An advocacy group called Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, also known as FIRE, demanded the policy be retracted, claiming it was a first amendment violation, after being tipped off by a staffer.

Frederick County school officials told WMAR-2 News the initial newsletter sent out was incomplete, prompting a corrected version to be issued later that same day. It's unclear when the revised letter actually reached Twin Ridge staff.

The completed letter stated "while we can require participation in the Pledge of Allegiance, we must allow anyone who chooses not to participate the right to make that choice."

FIRE responded to the school's decision with this statement.

"Now the students and staff of Frederick County Public Schools are free to exercise their First Amendment rights and make a choice, rather than be compelled, to participate in the Pledge. FIRE commends Twin Ridge Elementary School and Frederick County Public Schools for correcting its directive on participation in the Pledge of Allegiance."

Here is what the Frederick County Public Schools current Parent/Student Handbook & Student Code of Conductsays about student participation in the Pledge:

"Schools will provide a flag salute and other patriotic exercises, but shall not require participation in these exercises of any student who objects to them."