Students Protest Against Non-Existent Religious Persecution At School
Students at Spring Valley High School in Huntington, West Virginia, protested on Aug. 30 against fictional religious persecution.
The controversy started when rumors were spread on social media sites that the school administration had intentionally omitted the phrase “One nation, under God,” from the Pledge of Allegiance and that students were punished for religious expression.
Principal Tammy Forbush told The Herald-Dispatch that the social media claims “absolute lies,” and said that no student was disciplined for practicing or expressing their faith.
Forbush said that she forgot the phrase “And to the Republic, for which it stands” during the pledge on Aug. 29, not “One nation, under God.”
There were claims that the school administration suspended a student for reading a Bible, made a student change a shirt with a religious slogan and had removed all American flags from the school.
Twitter user @ManWithaPlan75, a Trump supporter, helped spread the rumors, notes the Friendly Atheist.
Facebook user Alisha Grayson also shared outrage over the non-existent religious persecution:
So my son just texted that Spring Valley high school said pledge of allegiance but had to leave out the under God part. Leave God in our schools and things would change. My son will be taught not to leave it out. He will continue to life for God regardless if he is in a corrupt school system!
Forbush told The Herald-Dispatch:
None of those things happened. Unfortunately, students completely believe their peers or social media.
In fact, one parent was in the office complaining about the removal of flags, and that parent had walked past the flag on the large pole, and there are two in the office. They were never removed; it didn’t happen.
About 50 students staged a sit-in in the school’s commons area on Aug. 30. They refused to move for school administrators and guidance counselors.
A Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy finally moved the kids out of the commons area; some were disciplined.
They’re sincere in their belief, but unfortunately when they crossed the line is when they refused to leave the commons area and go to homeroom. At no point was anybody, or will anybody, be suspended for saying “God,” reading their Bible, having a Bible out, or anything like that.
The line was crossed when they refused to go to homeroom and then additionally when they refused to go to the auditorium. It has zero to do with God, religion, flags, respect.
Forbush recited the pledge in its entirety on Aug. 30.
Wayne County Superintendent of Schools Todd Alexander also said the social media rumors were false.