York ME Schools Fact Check Flags, Pledge of Allegiance



YORK, Maine – In response to what he described as misinformation disseminated by some members of the community, York School Department Head Lou Goscinski released a statement defending the district’s procedures regarding respect for the flag American and the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance.

The statement aims to clarify district policies, which some members of the public questioned in meetings, Goscinski said. The questions and accusations raised at the York School committee over the past few months have at times dominated discussions and sparked heated exchanges between committee members and the public.

Goscinski’s statement, released Sept. 20 with the tag “Quick Fact Check # 1,” describes school procedures on teaching, reciting, and keeping the oath of allegiance.

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The plan is to roll out more of these fact-checking announcements, Goscinski said, although he did not specify what he would address in the future. This is a direct response to a dramatic increase in the number of people sharing misinformation in meetings and online, he added.

Goscinski said he plans to bring up topics that have been discussed in previous meetings as well as any new comments that include misinformation in future meetings.

“This post is for informational purposes, to let people know what we are doing and to be transparent,” Goscinski said.

When do York students recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

Students learn the pledge of allegiance at Village Elementary School and participate in a daily engagement at all four York schools, Goscinski said in the statement.

At VES, Coastal Ridge Elementary School and York Middle School, the pledge of allegiance is taken in the morning, shortly after the daily announcements, beginning on the second day of school, Goscinski said. At York High School, students take the pledge at 10:25 a.m. in daily announcements.

“Every day we ask our students to stand up and take the pledge of allegiance,” Goscinski said in an interview. “There are students who cannot stand up and take the pledge of allegiance, and they have the right to do so.”

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Goscinski recognized that schools cannot force students to stand up and take the pledge because the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students have the constitutionally protected right to free speech. to refrain from reciting the commitment.

“It’s not a major community issue… we have flags in every classroom,” he added.

Other misinformation has targeted discussions on equity, diversity and inclusion

On the YSD website, there is a page dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion. This page was a recurring topic raised during public comment at recent York School Board meetings and included incorrect information regarding the curriculum, school culture, and an upcoming fairness check.

Some parents have made comments disavowing the principles of EDI and accusing principals of “sprinkling” such topics in classrooms and other school settings. And some of them have argued that EDI is indeed the same as Critical Race Theory, an analytical framework that critiques institutionalized white supremacy. They raised these demands locally as the country’s conservatives rallied to their opposition to the CRT.

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Goscinski said disinformation about YSD’s curriculum has spread recently. Some have claimed that the district has already updated its program in light of a program fairness audit, but that is not true, he said. Moreover, the district does not adopt the CRT, and if it does, it would go to the school committee for a public vote, he said.

In August, Goscinski said political tensions were greater than ever this year.

“I think society in general has become more confrontational over the past six years or so … I have been a director for many years and have never seen the lack of trust in public officials and appointed officials. ‘whole of my life,’ he said.



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