An Atlanta, Georgia, charter school is starting its second week of the new school year by stopping the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
In a Tuesday statement, Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School revealed the pledge will be replaced with the more inclusive “Wolf Pack Chant.”
School officials revealed the change is due to an increasing number of members of the school community remaining seated and/or silent during the pledge in recent years.
According to Fox News, the “Wolf Pack Chant” is most likely a nod to the school’s wolf mascot.
In the release, the elementary campus president Lara Zelski explained that while the Pledge of Allegiance will no longer be a part of the morning agenda, students can still recite the pledge in their classrooms at another time of the day.
“One change that we made to our morning meeting agenda this year is that we will not be including the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance each morning,” the release reads.
“Students will continue to lead the meeting by asking our community to stand to participate in our Wolf Pack Chant together.”
“This decision was made in an effort to begin our day as a fully inclusive and connected community. … There are many emotions around this and we want everyone in our school family to start their day in a positive manner.”
The release goes on to explain that students and teachers will work together in the coming months to create their school chant, which “will focus on students’ civic responsibility to their school family, community, country and our global society.”
Other schools, like the Bedford Area School District in southcentral Pennsylvania, have decided to forgo the Pledge of Allegiance as well.
The school cited the “national attention” the NFL received for players kneeling during the national anthem as a potential reason students have stopped standing for the pledge.
“If they choose not to, that’s their First Amendment rights and we, as school leaders, have the responsibility to respect that,” superintendent Allen Sell said to WJAC-TV.
“The topic of standing, or not standing, has been getting a lot of national attention, most commonly because of protests at NFL games.”
The Pennsylvania school went on to revise their handbook, which had required students to stand for the pledge.
Before the revision, teachers were permitted to reprimand students for not standing for the pledge, until the district told them the policy was illegal.
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