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E Pluribus Unum

Mom fights school district over Spanish ‘Pledge’ assignment

EDMOND, OK (NBC) – An Oklahoma mother is fuming over a mandatory assignment given to her son.

Melissa Taggart is now taking her fight to Edmond, OK Public Schools after her son was threatened with a zero because he wouldn’t complete an assignment that would require him to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.

“My husband and I are appalled by it. We don’t believe in it and I do not want my child doing it,” Taggart said. “I just feel that it’s wrong, that he’ll have to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America in Spanish. That’s not how it should be taught. That has nothing to do with the Spanish language.”

Officials with Edmond Public Schools said that Melissa’s son was going to receive a zero for the project. A few hours later, they changed their minds and are now offering him another assignment.

“There are poems, lyrics, and great writers that she could have chosen that emphasize the Spanish culture … Why the Pledge of Allegiance,” Taggart asked.

When I was in high school back in the Stone Age of the 1960’s, I took Latin as my foreign language choice.  My teacher, Mrs. Cargill, was from Argentina.  Besides Latin, she taught Spanish and had a working knowledge of Italian and German.  Even though she was one tough cookie when it came to making us toe the line, I adored her.

Since our class was during the first period of the day, we heard the principal’s morning announcements over the room’s intercom.  These were always preceded by the Pledge of Allegiance, which he recited while all the students in the school stood and recited it in English with him. 

Except for us. 

Mrs. Cargill thought it was important to take advantage of any opportunity to bring the language alive by using it in situations that got us outside of the textbook.  So, we memorized the Pledge in Latin and recited it that way while the principal spoke it in English.

My, how subversive.

I wonder if this same parent would object to the Pledge being recited in Latin. 

How about French?  German? 

Somehow, I suspect there wouldn’t be anywhere near the fuss.  The Pledge is not a sacred text that will be defiled if translated into Spanish.  If anything, instead of giving a robotic and rote memory recitation as many students find themselves doing after years of saying it in English, it may get her son thinking about what the words actually signify. 

 Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Here’s to you, Mrs. Cargill.  I’m sure you would be “appalled” that a valuable learning tool could be twisted around to such ignorant ends.

     Ego vexillo Unitorum Statuum Americae ac rei publicae, quam refert ipsum, fidelitatum voveo: Uni Nationi sub Deo indivisibili, cum Libertate atque Justitia omnibus.