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Vet's Pleas Turn To Thanks



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Veterans were planning to plead their case once again Monday night to the Sioux Falls School Board, in hopes they would expand the district's Pledge policy to require the Pledge of Allegiance be said in high schools. But that plea will now turn to a thank you, after a district wide survey led the board to revise the policy.

For nearly three weeks, who's required to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the Sioux Falls School District has made local as well as national headlines.
     
Commander Ken Teunissen, American Legion Post 15 said, "They could have saved themselves a lot of time and trouble and went ahead done it when we asked them too."

Teunissen said reaction after the Nov. 12 vote to require students just through middle school to say the Pledge daily spiraled out of control.
   
"I just regret that it had to go this far and that they got the threatening mail, the threatening phone calls, and the threatening emails," Teunissen said.
 
But there is one good thing, Teunissen said, that has come out of all the controversy.

"We laid the foundation," Teunissen said. "The survey made the rest of the cause worthwhile."

On Thursday, the district sent out an automated phone survey to 10,000 parents and guardians. Seventy percent of the 3,500 people who responded said they feel students in Sioux Falls high schools should say the Pledge too.

"It wasn't a narrow margin, it was an overwhelming landslide," Teunissen said.

Teunissen said the district and its board members did right thing by conducting the survey and changing the policy. He said he looks forward to speaking with the board Monday, to tell them one thing.   

"We'll stand up and we will come forward and thank the school board for not only changing the policy, but listening to the population," Teunissen said.

And he hopes this will spark a change across the nation.

"I think that this is the foundation for the United States, not just Sioux Falls," said Teunissen. "I think it will have the rest of the country step up and ensure patriotism is followed through and respect is given to not only the flag, but the country."

The board will vote on the new policy to make it official Monday night at 5:30. The policy also states that while classrooms as a whole will be required to say the Pledge, individual students can chose not to.
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