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Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools changes pledge of allegiance policy

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TWC News: Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools changes pledge of allegiance policy
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WINSTON-SALEM -- Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will change its pledge of allegiance policy.

It's something the school board has been talking about since December, updating the district's pledge of allegiance policy.

Under the new policy, the board will do away with the long-standing requirement for students to cite the pledge, unless they opt out for religious reasons.

“State law specifically says that students cannot be compelled to stand or say or recite the pledge. So that started this whole process in motion,” WSFCS Spokesperson Theo Helm said.

The board already voted once a few weeks ago but now they'll vote a second time on Tuesday; two separate votes are standard for the district for policy changes.

“Our intention has always been to follow the state law obviously." Helm said, “But it's also very important to the board the pledge of allegiance be honored and recited every morning and that's not changing, the pledge will still be recited every morning.”

What is changing is that students can opt out at will, although they still must stand in silence while the pledge is being recited.

“If someone chooses not to say it, an administrator or someone from the school will call their parents,” Helm said, “and explain what happened and just have their parent or guardian a note explaining that they are expressing their First Amendment right.”

The policy passed at the April 10 meeting in an 8-to-1 vote. Board members will vote again on the policy change on Tuesday.

If the policy is approved by the board of education for a second time, the new rules will go into effect immediately.

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