SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education approved the first reading of a board policy requiring students to salute the U.S. flag and repeat the pledge of allegiance. The measure passed at the BOE’s monthly regular meeting Tuesday night, September 27.
The proposed policy, entitled “Opening Exercises/Ceremonies," if formally adopted, would require students in “…each school in the district to salute the United States flag and repeat the pledge of allegiance to the flag…”
The policy describes the method and manner in which the allegiance should be rendered (right hand over heart) and provides exemptions for conscientious objectors and children of accredited representatives of foreign governments receiving diplomatic immunity. Those not saluting or reciting the pledge shall “be required to show full respect to the flag while the pledge is being given.”
There was no discussion by the BOE, as is typical during a first reading. Approval at this stage, however, clears the way for formal adoption at a subsequent meeting.
Additionally, the board tackled a wide-ranging agenda. It addressed a dozen school business functions primarily focusing on various appropriations for vendor services and related matters including approving bills for the period Aug. 26-Sept. 23 in the amount of $5,637,779.69. The Board also approved the bill to replace the Evergreen School boiler at approximately $200,000.
In addition to the flag and pledge of allegiance matter, the board also approved the first reading of five other new policies and the elimination of one.
The new policies address screening for dyslexia, early graduation, suspected gang activity, transgender students, and school nutrition programs. The board approved the abolishment of a regulation regarding free and reduced rate meals, apparently to be replaced by the new school nutrition program.