High school principal bans pledge of allegiance over government shutdown

Font Size:

A western Nebraska high school principal outlawed the Pledge of Allegiance for a day because of the partial shutdown that is causing some 17 percent of the federal government (and no part of Nebraska high schools) to cease functioning.

The kerfuffle occurred last Tuesday at Alliance High School in the tiny, rural town of Alliance (pop. 8,491), reports local ABC affiliate KOTA.

After the principal, Pat Jones, announced that there would be no pledge, many parents and students were outraged. One kid stood up in class and said the pledge anyway, according to a proudly irate mother.

Apparently, the principal’s goal when he initiated the pledge cancellation controversy was to provoke student discussion about the government shutdown.

Jones didn’t bother to tell school district administrators about his plan to ban the expression of patriotism, notes the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan. School district superintendent Troy Unzicker soon heard about it, though, because school board members received a number of uniformly critical emails and phone calls from parents.

Unzicker assured KOTA that district policy still requires the recitation of the pledge.

“It is kind of sad because when you talk to our kids they don’t understand the shutdown at all — some not even knowing it existed — so it has opened up some great communication lines and it has actually had some positive outcomes,” Unsicker told KOTA.

Unsicker stressed that the principal’s stunt was a one-time thing.

“Again, we will follow our policy though and say the pledge of allegiance,” he added.

Follow Eric on Twitter and on Facebook, and send education-related story tips to