The final straw came when a teacher accused Alicia, a high school sophomore, of treason.
Alicia (not her real name) hardly comes across as subversive. She’s not one of those kids who is intrigued by anti-American propaganda from ISIS, for example, nor is she one who has been duped by homegrown anti-government groups calling for a citizens’ rebellion. She’s pretty much an ordinary, intelligent teenager—interested in politics, current events and government, but hardly a fringe radical.
Her offense in the eyes of her homeroom teacher, however, was that she chose to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance. This act, for Alicia and countless other young Americans, has brought on the wrath of authority, with teachers and school administrators unleashing mean-spirited accusations and hostility toward students who dare to question the wisdom of a daily loyalty oath. We may be a free country, but any kid who chooses to sit out the collective exercise of exalting America runs a risk of official ostracization.