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10-Year-Old Boy Refuses to Say Pledge of Allegiance

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KNWA News: WEST FORK, Arkansas -- "When I heard from the principal, I was not happy," said Jay Phillips.

girl reciting plege of allegiance

Jay and Laura Phillips were shocked to hear their 10-year-old talked back to a teacher at West Fork Middle school Thursday -- but were less surprised when they found out why.

"Don't push him -- four days of hassle, hassle, hassle and raise your voice," said Laura Phillips. "He's going to lose his temper."

Their son told them last weekend he had decided to no longer stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school because he didn't believe there is liberty and justice for all, especially when it comes to gay rights.

"To say them [words] and not mean them would be a lie," Jay said.

This week their son says a substitute teacher prodded him every day to stand up and say the pledge after he had refused. He then says he got angry, and talked back. The Phillips said that they reprimanded him for that, but they don't want him to be pushed to do something he doesn't feel comfortable doing.

"We would like to have the school make sure the teachers know the kids do have the right to sit down and make their own choices, even if he is only 10 and in 5th grade," Laura said.

She chooses not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but Jay does. They said that they respect each other's choices -- and their son's -- and they don't see it as an insult to the country.

"He is not anti-American," Laura said. "He is very proud to live here, but he knows even at 10 he can make changes."

The West Fork School District responded by saying that they don't require students to say the pledge.

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68 comments so far | Post a comment now
Monica October 13, 2009, 1:08 PM

I can understand the kids dilemma. I had a homeroom teacher for six years in junior high and high school. She did the flag salute everyday. Never missed. Unless she was absent. Seems like we were the only class in the whole school who did the flag salute. Well, because of my religious beliefs I never saluted the flag. Because to me it is a form of worship. And we are to only worship God, no man, no country. Although she was very political she never, ever said anything to me, forced or harassed me about saying the pledge. I was the about the only student who didn’t ( beside one friend who had the same beliefs as I did and was only in my class for a little while.) I always stood respectfully until it was over. And I never disrespected anyone else for their doing it. Till this day, I appreciate the respect that my teacher gave to me to make my own choice. It is no different for this boy, who at 10, has a legitimate reason why he doesn’t want to salute the flag. You have to respect a child who is his own person. I see a little protester or politician in the making.

Bill October 13, 2009, 1:29 PM

Why WOULD anyone want to make a daily pledge that is nothing but a lie?

In order for the pledge of allegiance to this country to be ANYTHING more than an outright lie, the following must be added to the end of the allegiance:

“…with liberty and justice for all. Unless you are a Gay American.”

(You could surely get that change quite quickly approved via popular vote. Do I sense a ‘Prop 9’ in our future???)

I say GOOD FOR YOU, ‘little Phillips.’

A 10 year old can see that the way gay citizens are treated is wrong. Why can’t the adults?

Anonymous October 13, 2009, 3:26 PM

Take the kid to North Korea and he’ll see how much liberty and justice he has. How on earth a 10 year old boy can have understand what homosexual rights are is beyond me. He is homosexual by chance? If not I think his parents are teaching him or someone he looks up to is. The last thing I thought about at 10 years old was homosexuals much less their rights. This is just pure sensationalist journalism.

conakry October 14, 2009, 12:45 AM

Oh! He is a comunist!

O'realy October 14, 2009, 2:16 AM

Kill him!

DD October 14, 2009, 5:34 AM

So, anonymous, others doing worse is a good excuse for you doing bad?

Jack October 15, 2009, 2:54 PM

No one should be forced to say if they don’t want to.

laura phillips October 19, 2009, 9:18 AM

wow, “kill him”? really? no, he’s not gay, he’s just a kid who sees the world as it is. how do I know? i’m his mom. so please keep your hurtful, hateful comments to yourself.

Allena Tapia October 20, 2009, 5:34 PM

My children don’t say the pledge. I told them they shouldn’t be making any promises at their age, anyway. They’ve not made those kind of coices yet. Why pledge allegiance blindly?

Linda October 21, 2009, 5:06 PM

Quote: My children don’t say the pledge. I told them they shouldn’t be making any promises at their age, anyway. They’ve not made those kind of choices yet. Why pledge allegiance blindly?
- Allena Tapia

Your children have already made the most important choice a person can make—to be true to one’s inner self.

You son is an amazing person. Thank you for being so supportive of him.

Emily November 8, 2009, 6:41 AM

good job jr. I pledge the flag, not for the flag, or whatever, but because of the men and women who died in order to make it so I have the freedom to type my comment here. Pleging Allegiance doesn’t have a lot to do with gay rights. It’s about acknowledging that you have the right and the freedom to do what you do in everyday life. While I DO cheer him for showing standing up for his own, he could have been more co-operative, such as standing during the pledge. I don’t pray, but when others around me are, i bow my head out of common courtesy. After all… in some countries, if you don’t Pledge Allegiance or salute or whatever… you get shot, or stoned, or not so long ago… Burned as a heritic. So I hope that someone teaches him that there are a lot of rights in this country that he may not have if he lived somewhere else. After all, homosexuals still get shot or hung in some South African nations. And in America they can have a 20 minute make out session in the grocery store and a lot of people wouldn’t say a word.

Emily November 8, 2009, 7:02 AM

I forgot to say though. That if the sub was hassling that still didn’t give him the right to back talk. He should have gone to his parents, his principal, his school counselor or someone and told them she hassled him the FIRST day, not waited until the end of the week or whatever, then mouthed off. If he had told his parents over the weekend he wasn’t going to say the pledge anymore, perhaps they should have sent a note to the school letting them know that (as his parents), they beleive he be excused for this. This problem between Jr. and the teacher could have been avoided with a little proactive planning on all parts involved.

Kimberly M November 11, 2009, 8:09 AM

I hate seeing something like this on Veteran’s Day, but I honestly would be proud of my son. I live and was raised here in the deep south (GA) and in a military base town and we were just to be quiet during that time if we didn’t want to say the pledge.

Denise November 11, 2009, 8:44 PM

“With liberty and justice” means with freedom and fairness. So the kid doesn’t think that gays are treated fairly. What does he propose the government do? Allow gays to marry? Easier said than done. Allowing gays to marry offends a very large group of Americans that think homosexuality is a sin. It’s their right to believe that. People need to have tolerance for the beliefs of others. California chickend out with Prop 8 and made the people vote. The CA government didn’t want to touch the issue with a ten foot pole so they passed it to the people. Then they sat back with sympathetic faces and acted like their hands were tied while watching both sides protesting and crucifying each other. So what does little Junior propose the solution is to this problem? Because allowing gays to marry is saying “Screw the Christians. I don’t care what you believe.” Not very fair to the Christians, is it? Then little Suzie will refuse to say the Pledge of Allegience because she believes there is no fairness for Christians. Someone needs to sit down and explain to this child that this is a very sensitive issue for BOTH sides and there is no easy solution. Either way, a very large group is going to be very upset. The government can’t even figure out a happy medium without getting people upset. It’s not as concrete as this child thinks it is.

Anonymous November 15, 2009, 11:07 PM

good kid

Sarah November 16, 2009, 9:26 AM

I can’t believe what people are taking this as, like ‘Denise’s’ comment. This child wasn’t proposing any solutions to the inequality that is rampant in America, he was simply stating that he saw things how they are, and believes that it is wrong. I think that his parents are teaching him all the right morals, and hope I was that cool at his age.

Kevin Gets November 16, 2009, 8:51 PM

I suppose this boy would be okay with Pedophiles having equal rights too? I mean, shouldn’t Pedophiles have the right to be with whom they wish. The boy is applying “his logic” way out of context. And of course the parents are gonig to back him up, they share the same DNA pool. A family of ignorants.

Paul V November 17, 2009, 5:14 AM

This is a bit of a dilema for me. Do I think that all people are treated equally in the U.S.A.? No. Am I proud to be an American and glad that I have the freedoms that I do have? Yes. Do I say the pledge of allegiance at school as a sign of patriotism and honor to the men and women who have fought for the freedoms which I do enjoy? Yes. And to Kevin Gets, pedophlia is a crime, being gay is not a crime in the U.S.A. Your logic is way out of context. Now who is ignorant?

The Game November 17, 2009, 6:08 AM

Another scumbag in the making - great parents you should be really proud of your son who doesn’t feel the need to pledge Allegiance to the flag and what it stands for. People like you should have their a$$ shipped to some country where you might appreciate your freedom a little more. And the little comments from the morons about how great it is for a kid to not even respect the flag or what it stands for… it’s morons like you who are ruining this great country with you “enlightened” views.

Clint November 17, 2009, 6:50 AM

Wow. There is A LOT of hate in this country. I am proud of this kid for following in the footsteps of Jefferson, Adams, Washington and others who knew the value of freedom and the consequences of denying anyone on these shores equality. He is smart, brave and a better person than most of you hate-filled jerks commenting on this board. Shame on you all.

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