Watch: Fargo School Board to begin reciting Pledge of Allegiance at board meetings
FARGO (KVRR) – After about a half hour of debate, the Fargo School Board voted Monday to begin reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of future board meetings.
The proposal was originally introduced Feb. 8 by board member David Paulson, but the motion failed. Paulson said the motion was inspired by his grandchildren, who recite the pledge in school.
“It’s something that I just felt should have been done…and once my grandkids started reciting it to me, I thought that it’s time that I started doing this too.”
The final vote was 6-2. Board members Seth Holden and Jim Johnson voted against the motion. Board member Tracie Newman was absent.
“I am extremely happy to be an American. One of the main reasons why I love to be an American is because I get to choose what I say and what I don’t say,” Holden said. “If I don’t want to do this at every single board meeting, it’s not because I don’t have allegiance to my country, it’s not because I don’t love my country…it is because there are words on the Pledge of Allegiance that I don’t think are true.”
Board member Jim Johnson said including the Pledge of Allegiance in school board meetings leads to a possible situation that could “create issues for the board.”
“My biggest problem with this motion came in 1954, the year before I was born. When they altered the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, to put the words ‘Under God’ into the Pledge of Allegiance, making it quite frankly, a Judeo-Christian pledge as opposed to a pledge to the nation,” Johnson said.
“The pledge is a beautiful thing for lots of people, and yet I think you heard it could be weaponized against someone who reserved their First Amendment right not to participate,” Fargo Public Schools Director of Equity and Inclusion Tamara Uselman said. “Those are the kind of thorny issues that you have to think about.”
Language in the original motion that called for the school board president to lead the pledge was removed. No members will be required to recite the pledge.
Currently, the Moorhead and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School Boards recite the Pledge of Allegiance during meetings. It is not recited during West Fargo School Board meetings.