Prior Lake High School tried to stamp out a freak-out before it happened. But when it comes to God and the Pledge of Allegiance, there's no way to avoid the histrionics, no matter how small the issue.
Last week a secretary reading the Pledge over the intercom was interrupted for a split second, according to the school. The words “under God” were accidentally omitted.
No one was actually offended by the mistake, though some students asked if the school intentionally cut out the religious reference. Prior Lake High sprung to Facebook to assure everyone that it was but a slip, and the Pledge would remain intact for future readings.
A mistake was made in the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance this morning at Prior Lake High School, and the phrase “...
Eyebrows lifted. Fingers started clacking. A flurry of indignant responses to the school’s perceived apology took the view that any apology itself was hurtful.
Some commenters reminisced about how the United States superficially added “under God” to the original pledge in the 1950s, when everyone was running scared of commies. Others speculated on how creepy it was that American kids are led in classroom oaths at all. Naturally, religious people fired back.
The backlash came out of nowhere for Prior Lake Principal David Lund.
“Our secretary reads it off something to make sure she gets it right, and that particular day she just happened to miss words, and of course it had to be, 'under God,'” Lund says. “She didn’t take any heat or anything. We just had some students wonder if the district made a decision to change the pledge, which we did not.”
Lund sent teachers a note to read to the students, explaining it was a simple word stumble and not a grand political statement. He decided to post the same note to Facebook so parents wouldn’t get swept up in any rumors.
“No, it was not an apology,” Lund says. “It was an explanation as to what occurred because we know how the world is today, and information gets out. Communication is key.”
While some schools read the Pledge of Allegiance every day, Prior Lake High School only does it on Tuesdays, the minimum required by state law. Anybody who doesn't want to participate can sit out.