A black San Francisco school board president has eliminated the Pledge of Allegiance for his meetings and replaced it with a Maya Angelou poem, reports say.
The board chief, Steven Cook, gave the facile explanation that the reason he did it is because of President Donal Trump. He replaced the Pledge with the poem, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”
The Pledge of Allegiance, while required by state education code, is rarely enforced by schools, district officials said. District spokesman Gentle Blythe said it is not required for school boards.
“If you ask 10 Americans who wrote it, or when it was implemented, or why it is how we start our meetings, a lot of us would be hard pressed (to answer),” Cook said.
“There are a lot of ways to express gratitude and appreciation for the country and its citizens. This is how I plan to do that,” Cook reportedly said.
“Although there is a requirement that schools conduct a pledge or similar activity, there is no such requirement for school boards,” said district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.
Not all public bodies recite the pledge before meetings, but many — if not most — do.
In some communities, the pledge has caused significant controversy. In New Paltz, N.Y., the planning board voted in 2016 to eliminate the ritual at meetings. The board chairman in New Hartford, Conn., resigned in protest after the school board voted in August to require the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.
In San Francisco, the Pledge of Allegiance has for decades been the first order of business at school board meetings after roll call, although it hasn’t officially appeared on the agenda.
The anti-American school board chief also refused to compare himself to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick who invented the anti-American protest during the playing of the national anthem.
“I’m no Colin Kaepernick. I’m Steven Cook,” he said.
All I can say is that when conservatives don’t like a president they still don’t go around canceling the pledge, burning the flag, and attacking the country.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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