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CA School Recognizes Right to Boycott Pledge after Warning

For Immediate Release


Sarah Henry, (202) 238-9088,

(Washington, D.C., October 3, 2019) – The American Humanist Association received written assurances yesterday from the Manhattan Beach Unified School District in response to a warning letter sent to district administrators more than two weeks ago.

Monica Miller, Legal Director and Senior Counsel at the American Humanist Association, warned that Mira Costa High School officials were in violation of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent as they discouraged students from protesting the Pledge of Allegiance. On September 11, 2019, the principal announced that he was “personally offended by any teacher or student who did not stand for the Pledge.” The principal has also canvassed the school in an effort to discern if anyone was not standing for the daily ritual.

The response from the administration explained that, “if the district learns of any disciplinary or retaliatory measures directed toward a student or teacher for nonparticipation in the Pledge by any staff member, teacher or administrator, it will take appropriate corrective action.”

The administration also noted that the superintendent sent a message to “the Mira Costa Community to assure everyone that the District respects all individuals’ right to express patriotism in traditional manners, and their right to exercise free speech, which includes choosing not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.”

The American Humanist Association is pleased that school officials responded appropriately to this constitutional concern.


The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and the Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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