Thomas and Brian Rogers, seniors at San Marino High School and Eagle Scouts from Troop 355, made a presentation at Tuesday’s school board meeting asking the group to make mandatory a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance at SMHS. The board responded with a unanimous 5-0 vote in the affirmative.
“It first came up freshman year when, on the first day of school, I noticed that we did not say the Pledge of Allegiance like we did at Valentine and Huntington,” said Brian. “At first, I just brushed it off, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the school needed the unity of standing up together and demonstrating their common love and appreciation for this wonderful nation.”
The twins, standouts on San Marino High School’s water polo team, also started the Stars and Stripes Patriotic Club at San Marino High School – Brian serves as President, Thomas as VP.
“Since the founding of the Stars and Stripes Club in the spring of 2012, the renewal of the Pledge of Allegiance has been on the agenda,” Thomas added. “The cabinet discussed how to make the change official and decided to send around a petition to a random sample size of students. Then we delivered copies of the petition to the school board; Principal Keith Derrick, Assistant Principal D. R. Moreland and ASB advisor José Caire. Mrs. [Nam] Jack on the school board invited us to present the proposal to the school board as well.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Jack told the audience the board has “been discussing this proposal for a year.”
“Growing up in such a privileged community and country, we can forget how fortunate we are,” said Thomas. “Standing together as a family every day to recite the Pledge of Allegiance will help remind us of the blessings we all share.”
The school has tentatively scheduled the Pledge to take place at the beginning of fourth period.
“I feel that we all deserve the opportunity to acknowledge the blessing of living in America,” Brian said. “In addition, standing up together as an entire school everyday promotes campus unity.”
Assistant Superintendent Gary McGuigan told the board that the California Education Code allows for a patriotic observance every day, “but you can’t force a student to participate.”
The board also heard a presenttaion from Mary Johnson, San Marino High School’s Assistant Principal in charge of counseling and curriculum, who asked the board to consider the elimination of Honors English at the ninth grade level at SMHS.
“We need to level the playing field,” said Johnson. “This has never worked perfectly. There is a tremendous difference in maturity between eighth graders and ninth graders and class time can be better used to develop other skills.”
Johnson said that – if implemented – the change would not affect college entrance requirements or applications from SMHS students.
“We know what we are doing on this one,” said Johnson, adding that new Common Core requirements will provide plenty of additional challenges to students of English.
She also said that the faculty at Huntington Middle School supports the proposal.
When queried, Johnson asked the board to impose an April 22 deadline for making a decision so she could provide accurate scheduling ionformation to HMS.
In other business, School Board President Chris Norgaard told The Tribune that an attorney for Verizon Wireless estimated his company would begin the process of obtaining a Conditional Use Permit for the cell tower at Huntington Middle School “in March or April.”
“Verizon has not been able to find the oriiginal inspection report and one may not exist,” said Norgaard. “They might just move the tower a few feet out of the fall zone and file a new one.”
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