District 18 Joins National Synchronized Pledge Of Allegiance
By Neil S. Friedman
Thousands of Community School District 18 students placed their right hands over their hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance at 2 p.m. last Friday, along with millions of other students and teachers in a synchronized coast-to-coast display of patriotism suggested by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.
According to a spokesperson from the Canarsie-East Flatbush school district, all seventeen area elementary and intermediate schools participated, along with over one million New York City public school students, after Schools Chancellor Harold Levy requested that principals citywide guide their students in the nationwide recital.
At Public School 276 on East 83rd Street in Canarsie, three fourth graders — Jinneak Bailyen, 10, Krystal Robinson, 9, and Christopher Bowlan, 9 — joined principal Diane Weiss in the school’s general office as the pledge was recited over the school’s loudspeaker system as students throughout the building simultaneously spoke the thirty familiar words.
Paige’s October 9th letter to more than 100,000 elementary and secondary school principals nationwide read, in part:
"As a nation, we have displayed remarkable patriotism that reflects our appreciation for and dedication to the principles that make America strong — freedom, liberty and independence.
"Teachers in every community have been working with students to help them understand what happened...and to overcome their fears and concerns. They have also worked to teach them more about our proud and rich national history and the foundations of a free society.
"I ask you to join me and students, parents, and other proud Americans across the country in showing our patriotism by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with a unified voice in your classrooms...
"I hope you will join me in making this a national celebration...that will send a loud and powerful message that will be heard around the world: America is ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’"