SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — A United States Air Force veteran is upset that her daughter’s school recites the Pledge of Allegiance.

Haley Sides, 26, said she enrolled her daughter at the John Stanford International School because it promoted a multicultural perspective and celebrated diversity. The pledge policy, she said, retreats from it.

Her daughter is half-Jamaican. Sides’ partner was a Jamaican-born member of the U.S. Navy and died about a year-and-a-half after his daughter’s birth.

The progressive school in the Wallingford neighborhood teaches its students core subjects in foreign languages for half of each day. There are four other international schools in the district.

“It pains me to think that at a school that emphasizes thinking globally, we would institute something that makes our children think that this country alone is where their allegiance lies. This has no educational value for young children. Absolutely none,” Sides told the Seattle Times.

Seattle School District spokesperson Theresa Whipple told CBS Seattle that the public school hasn’t always started its day with the oath but did Monday morning to comply with the school district’s policy.

In a letter to parents, Whipple said first-year principal Jesely Alvarez said a period of internal debate had finished and it was time to comply with the state’s laws. The letter resulted in a mixed reaction among parents.

Whipple said, however, the district isn’t flexible.

“Our policy is based on the law,” she said. While individual schools have characteristics and values unique to them, she said complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the state’s legislature.

The law states that both teachers and students can remain silent so long as the decision is personal and only pertains to one’s self. Reasons beyond religious exemption are also allowed.

Sides has yet to say if she will pull her daughter out of the school over the controversy.


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