Pledge issue in Sioux Falls prompts death threats

2013-11-20T08:31:00Z Pledge issue in Sioux Falls prompts death threatsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 20, 2013 8:31 am  • 

SIOUX FALLS | Phone numbers for Sioux Falls School Board members have been removed from the school district's website in response to menacing calls and threats from around the country related to a recent decision regarding the Pledge of Allegiance.

The board decided last week that middle school students will be required to recite the pledge each day, along with elementary school students, but that the mandate will not be expanded to high school students. The board cited the daily flurry of activity at the high school level, and noted that the pledge is recited during school-wide assemblies and sporting events.

A group of veterans wanted the district to make the pledge mandatory in high schools as well, and national media coverage of the issue has brought a flurry of complaints, according to the Argus Leader newspaper ( ).

Board member Kate Parker said she has received as many as 200 emails and a number of phone calls. Board member Kent Alberty said he has received about 50 phone calls, most from outside South Dakota. Board member Todd Thoelke said he also has received dozens of emails and phone calls, including some death threats.

"I ran for this office. I am extremely proud to hold this position and still am, because I'm here to do good, not here to do bad," Thoelke said. "But my family did not sign up for this. ... my girls have been terrified."

Board members said inaccurate media coverage of the policy decision — including a local television report that said the board had voted to end the practice of saying the pledge in high schools — fanned the flames.

Now, only the board members' email addresses are available on the district's website, along with a phone number for the school district's general offices.

State Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, said last week that he plans to introduce a bill next year to require all schoolchildren in South Dakota to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day of class.

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(4) Comments

  1. Rhudedog
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    Rhudedog - November 21, 2013 10:20 am
    Here’s an idea for the Argus Leader, instead of focusing on political pointsscoring let’s get to the root of the real issue of how liberal policies like this are a complete and utter failure, lack principal, and are often hypocritical. Conservatives regularly get death threats and the public rarely (if ever) knows about them but I guess that is how the game is played
  2. oldsarge
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    oldsarge - November 20, 2013 4:00 pm
    I can't imagine anyone demanding that a child "say" a particular message. What does that prove...only that the child will obey all orders from above. Notice, they are not demanding this of high schoolers. Why not? Because they can't control them as easily as they can the younger kids.
    Read your history, friends...particularly that of World War II and before.
  3. Dakota605
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    Dakota605 - November 20, 2013 3:23 pm
    Is the spirit of the First Amendment to make it optional whether children learn/recite the Pledge of Allegiance while in school? Or is the spirit of the First Amendment maybe leaning toward something else? Don't reach farther than you can touch. What's atrocious is how these school board members have been treated by individuals having nothing to do with the Sioux Falls school district.
  4. Sans Bull
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    Sans Bull - November 20, 2013 8:56 am
    It's a PUBLIC school - why is such a mandate required?! I'm a Christian, a public school teacher, and a patriot and I find this atrocious that such a thing was passed! Freedom of Speech and YOU made it mandatory?! Shame!
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