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School Board President Nixes the Pledge of Allegiance In Favor Of Famous Quotes

At a school board meeting in San Francisco, California on Tuesday, the president decided to dispense with the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead, he opted to recite quotes from famous authors regarding civil rights. The decision was meant to be a response to President Donald Trump.

Stevon Cook, the newly-appointed president of the San Francisco School Board, said he decided ahead of the meeting to break with the traditional recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. He claims he discussed his decision with other members of the board, who agreed with him.

The decision was made because Cook feels that President Trump 'has been attacking our liberties'. Instead of the pledge, Cook read a quote from the late poet Maya Angelou.

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give," Cook read Angelou's words.

As far as the Pledge of Allegiance is concerned, Cook doesn't think much of it. "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)," he said.

schools are required to conduct a patriotic exercise, however this requirement doesn't extend to meetings of the school board. The Pledge of Allegiance has been a tradition but there are no laws saying the pledge must be recited.

Cook explains that the pledge sounds like empty words to him, even though he believes in the ideals behind them. The state code does specify that Instead of rattling off the usual pledge, he prefers the quotes to express his feelings.

"There are a lot of ways to express gratitude and appreciation for the country and its citizens," said Cook. "This is how I plan to do that."

The president of the school board vows to open each meeting with inspirational quotes from people he admires. He says he has plans to read quotes from San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate Harvey Milk, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and from social critic and novelist James Baldwin.

San Francisco isn't the only city with a school board trying to drop the pledge from meetings. It's been suggested at other school boards around the country, and the vote is frequently met with much controversy. In New Hartford, Connecticut, the chairman of the board resigned after the board voted to drop the pledge.

In San Francisco, the plan went off without a hitch, or a vote. No one seemed to complain, or even noticed, that the meeting began without people being asked to rise and put their hands over their hearts. Many even agreed with Cook's position.

“It feels respectful and it feels thoughtful,” said board member Rachel Norton. “Maya Angelou is an alumnus of (San Francisco’s) Washington High School, so what better way to start a new tradition.”

Cook is hoping the idea will catch on with other school boards. “I hope it starts a trend,” he said.

Cook has been compared to former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick who got world-wide attention for refusing to stand for the National Anthem.

Kaepernick’s football career was ruined for his protests, but he has recently been made spokesperson for Nike because he stuck to his principles.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: Stevon Cook Facebook, KTVU Screenshots

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