Patriotic Warriors

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

WTAP News // October 27, 28, 2008

Warren High School Students Chained to Flagpole

Two Warren High School Students have chained themselves to the flagpole in support of saying the Pledge of Allegiance and in an effort to replace the current "tattered" flag.

Warren High School Principal, Dan Leffingwell, says 17-year-old Roberty Grady and 15-year-old Kenneth Grady have chained themselves to the flagpole demanding the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance everyday at school, not just on Fridays.

Principal Leffingwell says the students will start saying the Pledge every morning starting tomorrow.

He says they used to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning during the student newscast but now the student newscast is only broadcast on Friday's and he did not realize the Pledge was no longer being said daily.

Leffingwell says the students brought a new flag to replace the schools current flag that they believed was tattered and torn.

Another student tells our reporter that he may also chain himself to the flagpole to support the cause.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says Superintendent Thomas Gibbs is handling the situation on his own and the department is remaining on standby.

WTAP will continue to update this story throughout the day and right here on our webchannel, www.wtap.com

Oct. 27, 2008

Students Protest Treatment of American Flag

With it being an election season, many people are hoping to make their voices heard.

Two students at a local high school spent Monday getting their word out.

Two brothers Robert and Kenneth Grady used the support of chains to gain support for the American flag.

"All the kids in the public school need to be given the opportunity every morning to say the pledge of allegiance. Obviously you can't force them to, but them that want to should be given the opportunity," Robert said.

But principal Dan Leffingwell says it's simply a misunderstanding.

"This year we made the decision to only do our student news on Fridays instead of Monday through Friday, and the pledge had been a part of that, so just on accident the pledge had been omitted from our daily activities," Leffingwell said.

But the pledge wasn't the only thing being protested. The brothers took other actions to fix their frustration, like replacing the school's ripped flag with one in better condition.

"Actually I appreciate them bringing it to our attention; however, it could have been done in a more adult fashion," Leffingwell said.

After replacing the torn and tattered flag with a new one and getting permission to say the pledge every morning, the Grady brothers remained chained to the flagpole, because they say this protest is about more than their high school.

"It's more of a statement to the entire community, to basically the entire nation that the youth, they do care," Robert said.

So they spent the day making sure other people care.

"There was a lot of people that really felt the same exact way, but just never went out and said anything in this way," Kenneth said.

Making sure the new flag gets a little more recognition than the last.

The pledge of allegiance will be said every day starting Tuesday.

But the Grady brothers won't be reciting it for a couple of weeks.

They say they've each received a 10 day out-of-school suspension for their actions.

Oct. 27, 2008

Policies for Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools

Many students start their school day by reciting the pledge of allegiance, but Monday, two students at a local high school who protested because their school did not say the pledge every day.

West Virginia and Ohio have different policies when it comes to reciting the pledge in schools.

"I think it should be mandatory," Dave Meadows, a civics teacher at Parkersburg High School, said.

Meadows agrees with West Virginia's policy that the pledge of allegiance is to be recited every morning by every school.

"The very first words are good morning staff and students. Please stand for the pledge of allegiance," Ralph Board, Parkersburg High's principal, said.

In Ohio, the decision is left up to the local school districts.

And Monday at Warren High School, two brothers, Robert and Kenneth Grady chained themselves to the flag pole to protest their school not saying the pledge every day.

"It teaches citizenship. This country was founded on people that gave up their lives so we can be free. We can be free to speak our minds. We can be free to say our own beliefs," Board said.

But not all beliefs go along with the pledge of allegiance; therefore, in West Virginia, not all students are required to recite it.

"We have students that stand and choose not to and that's fine. One interesting thing is the foreign exchange students, watching them as they stand and kind of nervously move around and that's something that we don't often consider," Meadows said.

A reminder that Americans' freedom of choice, a concept so envied by others around the world may be just as important as the pledge that most Americans know by heart.

Principal Dan Leffingwell of Warren High School where the two students protested says that not saying the pledge every day was just a misunderstanding and that it is now recited on a daily basis.

Oct. 28, 2008

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