Anna P. Mississippi

One Nation Under God?

A letter addressing the inequality of administrators' and teachers' freedom of speech in their workplace

Dear President,

One of the few traditions still in effect in public schools is the Pledge of Allegiance. When we recite the Pledge, we are promising our allegiance to a flag representing an indivisible republic promising liberty and justice to all the citizens of the land. However, recently, it seems that we are beginning to forget the portion of the Pledge of Allegiance in which we state that we are “One nation under God.”

Although, as a student, I have the legal ability to express my religious views in the classroom, I feel that my teachers and administrators are not as free to express themselves as a student may be. In 2012, The Johnson v. Poway School District case brought these rights, and lack thereof, to public attention. Bradley Johnson, a high school math teacher, was forced to take down signs in his classroom with slogans such as “One nation under God”, “In God we trust”, and “God bless America”. Johnson filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. At the end of the case, it was ruled that Johnson was allowed to post these banners.

Although the ruling was in favor of the teacher, this case should not have become an issue in the first place. Why was it a problem for a teacher to post a sign with a line from OUR Pledge of Allegiance?? Because we live in a society in which everyone is so afraid to offend someone else, many opinions go unspoken. As a nation, we are straying away from God, and our country’s current condition reflects this. Our teachers must be able to express themselves and influence Today’s Youth, who are also Tomorrow’s Nation, in a way that will benefit our country.

Our country is growing farther and farther away from the principals on which we were built. Please, as the leader of our country, we need you to lead us back to the path that our founding fathers set before us. All administrators, teachers, and other public figures must be allowed their right to express themselves at their workplace in order to maintain our country’s values; the change begins with you.


Anna Peterson