COLUMBUS — Lane Grimes recited the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday with his classmates at Lakeview Junior/Senior High School, just as they’ve done every morning since the school year began.
The senior doesn’t see anything wrong with the new Nebraska Department of Education rule requiring public schools to make time for the Pledge each day.
“It’s a good reminder for students of why we’re here and what our education is for,” said Grimes. “I think it’s great and I hate that we fell away from it for so long.”
The mandate, which applies to kindergarten through 12th-grade students in public schools, has caused few issues in the Lakeview or Columbus Public school districts.
Lakeview Superintendent Russ Freeman said there have been “no problems” since students and staff began reciting the Pledge in August.
Those who object can stand or sit silently but must “respect the rights of those pupils electing to participate,” the rule states.
Students at Shell Creek and Platte Center elementary schools voluntarily said the Pledge daily prior to the board of education decision, and only a couple of classrooms at the junior/senior high school didn’t follow the practice.
Steve Borer, junior/senior high school principal, said all seventh- through 12th-grade classes now recite the Pledge during first period with a participation rate near 100 percent.
Erika Loseke, an eighth-grader at Lakeview, believes it’s simply the right thing to do.
“I don’t think anyone really sees anything wrong with it,” she said.
The district also avoided potentially expensive costs associated with the rule since most classrooms already had American flags.
Only a single small flag was needed and a larger one was purchased for the practice gymnasium.
At Columbus Public Schools, however, the district was some 50 flags short, mainly in high school classrooms.
Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz said small flags were purchased there to reduce the expense.
Students at Columbus Middle School and the district’s five elementary schools previously recited the Pledge regularly, but it wasn’t common practice at the high school.
Now, Loeffelholz said most students are participating in the daily recital at all the schools.
“It’s been very positive,” he said. “I think most would tell you that it’s a good thing to do.”