Port Chester Parents Concerned Over Pledge of Allegiance Lacking at School

New principal at King Street School says students will recite Pledge over PA system.

Some Port Chester parents are concerned that the Pledge of Allegiance is not part of the daily routine at a local school.

After hearing those concerns, the principal of  says a new system for the Pledge is being developed.

, who is th new principal at King Street, said there has been no formal or mandatory reciting of the Pledge for about 4 years.  After hearing concerns from parents, Ortiz says he is developing a schedule to have different classes recite the Pledge.

The classes would take turns in broadcasting the Pledge to the entire school over its public address system.

The issue of the Pledge of Allegiance has sparked a discussion on the Port Chester Patch Facebook page. What's your opinion on the Pledge of Allegiance in schools? Comment hear on Port Chester Patch or on the Port Chester Patch Facebook page.

Aidan September 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM
TT ... we all grew up with LOTS of things we didn't fully understand. The death of a grandparent was explained in the softest of terms. Or the illness of a parent. Or why someone lost their job ... or went on a big skid in life. All learning is incremental. That's why we all start on the simplest of levels. I'd expect 5th graders to become somewhat numbed by the Pledge after some time. The same way some teens become bored with religious services ... only to return later in life when the soul is once again moved. I think patriotism is very much the same. Give it a good start ... and expect some ebb and flow, but, in the end there will be an appreciation of what this nation is all about. Learning the Pledge ... and practicing the Pledge is just another stop on the trail to growing up. There's nothing foul or sinister about it ... and it takes all of a few seconds. It also sets the tone for the school. It says that the day's begun and we have have a commonality that is important. I see nothing wrong with that. And I hardly see it as robbing time from the essential effort of school.
eatingdogfood September 14, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Single biggest mistake was not closing up the borders tight to illegals or to anyone not able to care for themselves and contribute to society.
Anny September 15, 2012 at 12:21 AM
This whole stream is a case of the blind leading the blind. First we have Patch reporter William Demarest, who NEVER attended the King Street PTA meeting, inaccurately reporting what happened in that meeting. Time to come clean, Mr. Demarest - were you there? Nobody saw you there. And those of us who WERE there never heard the new principal, Mr. Ortiz, state that "there has been no formal or mandatory reciting of the Pledge for about 4 years." What did occur is this: a parent asked a question leading to a short discussion about whether the Pledge of Allegiance should and was being said in classes. Mr. Ortiz seemed rather supportive of the concept of making it a daily ritual on the loudspeaker in the future, and expressed that this was what he was used to doing in the school at which he previously served as principal. A teacher present also supported the idea and confirmed that most King Street teachers led recitations of the Pledge in the morning in their classes. I did not hear anyone express anti-Pledge opinions at that meeting. I am sorry to see what must be a "slow news day" turn into an excuse to criticize people for no reason.
Anny September 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I would like to add that the previous principal, Mrs. Obuch, was a model for patriotism. She instituted flag raising ceremonies throughout the year and for every patriotic occasion, including Veteran's Day and 9-11. Students stood respectfully outside and learned how the flag should be raised, lowered, folded, etc. They learned to recognize "To the Colors" on the trumpet and heard and sang along to God Bless America. They interacted with Veterans in full uniform who were recognized for their contributions to our country. The King Street School always has been and will continue to be a place where patriotism is a vibrant part of the student experience. I am appalled at the needless negativity and slander that this article has prompted.
Mariaelena September 15, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Well said Anny .
GAL September 15, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Three points - Just because people are disagreeing with you does not make it a character attack. Claiming a character attack each time makes you look bad - the boy who cried wolf.... Speaking of intelligence, "intrusted" is NOT a word. In fact, the spellcheck here just flagged it for me. And before you cry about being picked on for typing a quick message on the website - your letter to the community last year about traffic patterns around KSS was littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. It was an absolute disgrace for that reason alone. Finally, on the topic of this article - you're entitled to your opinion, just like others are entitled to theirs, I am just saying. It's that diversity of opinion that makes this world an interesting place to live; we are not drones. It's also entirely possible that others may care about the Pledge, but feel that there's a myriad of other problems/issues that should be dealt with first. Oh, a forth point: Yes, your nemesis Trustee Brakewood had to be mentioned. We're all adults here, learn to take a joke...
angie September 15, 2012 at 02:46 AM
My children attended King Street School several years ago under Mrs. Obuch's tenure. I am certain that the Pledge was said over the loudspeaker every morning as I heard it myself many times while helping in the school. I am surprised to hear that practice had been discontinued, if in fact that is even the case. Mrs. Obuch was extremely patriotic and respectful of our flag and our country. She imparted those values to the children on a daily basis.
Brian Zeller September 15, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Mr. Didden - you sure know how to "put it all" in one post - you managed to botch the spelling of someone's name, spread a ridiculous lie AND revisit the infamous traffic incident in which you tried to prevent the installation of a sign designed to increase the safety for school children in a dangerous school zone. You are quite a guy.
Brian Zeller September 15, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Two schools have received Blue Ribbon status in Port Chester in past years - the middle school and the JFK magnet school. King Street is a great school but never received the designation. Sorry to "burden" you with facts. It seems you suffer from the same spelling issues as your alter ego, Bart Didden, particularly when it comes to people's names.
JJ September 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Bart, I agree with you once again.
Amy Simmons September 15, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I am responding to this ridiculous thread, not under a false name and not with any hidden agenda. My children attended KSS from 2003-2011 and now are in PCMS & PCHS. I understand how a parent may take notice if they were to hear that the Pledge of Allegiance was not being said in school. *NOTE – I use ‘take notice’ and ‘hear’ to indicate concern over speculation, not reaction to fact. The statement that The Pledge was not done at KSS for the past four years is a misnomer. My children and their classmates recited The Pledge of Allegiance in all of their classes at KSS. There were times when it was done as a whole school and times when it was incumbent upon the teacher and class to do, sometimes as a direct opportunity to teach the meaning of the words they were reciting. The Pledge, as well as the singing of patriotic songs, was not something they waited for over the PA system; their teachers used these as songs and words to teach my children about our country and our role as citizens of the United States. It was also worked into curriculum and morning meetings and given great importance as a piece of their education. TO BE CONTINUED…
Amy Simmons September 15, 2012 at 02:00 PM
If you were to do a 'patriotic inventory' of our schools, King Street stacks up quite high. Aside from recitation of the Pledge, KSS offered my children a plethora of opportunities to learn and express patriotic and civic understanding. I recall many mornings when the students would gather around the flagpole and ceremonially raise the flag, accompanied by To The Colors on trumpet. KSS students, teachers and families have taken pride in their annual Veterans Day celebration, which goes far beyond a one-day event – it is yet another deep learning opportunity that includes letters of thanks, opportunities to talk amongst generations of veterans, and mostly for the children to see the pride these veterans and families take in their service. KSS students take field trips to Civil and Revolutionary War sites and monuments to further expand their knowledge of the history of what our forefathers fought for. TO BE CONTINUED…
Amy Simmons September 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Mr. Ortiz, I apologize that you are experiencing this kind of reactionary forum and misinformed discourse in your first month as principal. We are confident you will continue to foster the very important patriotic rituals and learning we experienced at King Street. Mrs. Obuch, thank you for the eight years of support you gave my children and family and the knowledge and opportunities you and your staff imparted on them – including saying The Pledge and learning about patriotism and civic duty. Also, Mr. Brakewood is not, and has never been afraid of you. Mr. Didden, I ask my own children not to use the phrase, “I’m just saying.” It is a veiled way of deflecting what may be a strong disagreement with your statement/s and doesn’t show any sophistication, maturity or respect for your audience. I expect more from my Trustees. As for the crazy statements and remarks in the thread above, I am disappointed in the character of many of these posters.
JJ September 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
"There is no reason to waste time on this. Let the school teacher to read and to add and substract. If you want your kids pledging, go ahead and do that at home". THIS IS WHAT STARTED IT.........I'm not sure if that was you or not (Doesn't matter). What does matter is that people have responded with "crazy statements" because they're tired of listening to manure from people who think paying taxes, attending a few PTA meetings and voting makes them good Americans. People are still out there fighting so that American Flag can be present in those classrooms. It was best summed up by a Viet Nam Marine who wrote that "For those that will fight for it...FREEDOM ...has a flavor the protected shall never know." I'd bet a month's salary that you and NO one in your household ever served in the military because if you did you'd have more respect for the flag and those who have and still continue to defend it.
Brian Zeller September 15, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I have a healthy respect for veterans and JJ, if you are one, thank you for your service. But is all this anger towards people who may not be veterans necessary? Being a good citizen (or a "good American") goes hand in hand with paying your taxes, volunteering in your community (via PTA, for example) and voting. Service comes in many forms.
Bart Didden September 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM
@Brian Zeller, as for spelling, I copied and pasted from "Conservative NYer". @Amy Simmons and @GAL and who ever else wanted to comment on my spelling or what your expectations of your Trustees is - I will stand on my personal and professional achievements such as - One part of the team that cut over 2 million in spending resulting in lowering your Village tax bill from what Pilla/Brakewood was willing to pass by 10%. My 1976 PCHS education has resulted in a company that employees over 75 great individuals and now in business for over 30 years right here in Port Chester. I will also point out that it is my signature on the front of those checks every week, unlike Mr.'s Pilla & Brakewood that sign the back of a check. If you want to get a feel for the liberal left and what they are doing to the people of Port Chester, you should read the letter from a woman on Elmont who is a third generation resident who is considering selling her home because her school taxes rose more than 1,000,00 dollars this year and she does not know how she can afford to stay, which she wants to do. It's not just the taxpayer that I care for, but everyone and that is why I question everything. Finally to GAL, Trustee Brakewood should not waste the BOT's time with jokes considering the problems that we are trying to solve. Maybe if I took the $5,200.00 a year, I would also be predisposed to making jokes.
Conservative NYer September 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
@ Mr. Didden: Sorry to make you look bad. The spelling was passed on to me by my friend and I did not bother to name check since she has dealt with the former principal for the last several years until her retirement. @ Brian Zeller thank you for correcting me with the "Blue Ribbon School" fact. I live in that area, drive by that sign every day and could have sworn on my life I saw a Blue Ribbon acknowledgement on the KSS elementary sign that is in front. Thank you Mr. Didden for this comment: "I support the Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools that receive any form of direct or indirect taxpayer funding."
Brian Zeller September 16, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Mr. Didden, next time you drive by ANY of Port Chester's elementary schools, please go inside and sit in a math class. The children are learning all about numbers and can help instruct you on how to use decimal points. There is no such number as 1,000,00 -- you might want to have someone look over those checks you are writing to your numerous employees before you make a mistake that will really cost you. While you're at it, get your alter-ego Conservative NYer a pair of glasses so he read the King Street sign.
JJ September 16, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Brian, You missed the point. My bet is that you NEVER served either; otherwise you'd understand what I said. Anger? Look at what the Lady wrote; we all apparently made "crazy statements and remarks" according to her because some of us believe in something that transcends something neither of you will never know.
Conservative NYer September 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM
@Brian no need to put me down like some dog. Don't you make honest errors in life -- ever? I was sincerely thanking you for bringing the inaccurate fact that I stated to my attention. No need to be so malicious and volatile. Is that how you were raised by your parents? To denigrate, to bemean others? Do have beautiful children that you were blessed with? Do you disparage and belittle them when they make honest mistakes? Or your wife for that matter when she says something that may be inaccurate or does something that you do not agree with. Do come at her with your disrespectful manner, vilifying attitude and venomous tone as you have done towards your fellow Americans? As for reciting The Pledge of Allegiance I am pleased to know that Mr. Ortiz will be implementing a daily routine to say The Pledge of Allegiance, in the proper manner and respect in which it should always be said. But one has to question why Mr. Ortiz NEEDED to develop such a schedule (to have different classes recite the Pledge) if it were ALREADY properly instituted???? There would be no need for this schedule if this were the case --- in the past. God Bless.
Brian Zeller September 18, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Conservative NYer, if you can't take it, don't dish it out. You do plenty of insulting on a more personal nature. I am only picking on your obvious grammar, spelling and math errors. I guess this is "out of bounds," but it is OK for your good friend Mr. Didden to address a three-term village Mayor as "Mr. Rectum." I read all about it in the Westmore News a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it's OK for your good friend Mr. Didden swear or use potty language at his colleagues... but no -- no, NEVER point out a spelling error... pointing out spelling errors is downright cruel and demeaning!
Bart Didden September 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM
@ Mr. Zeller, You are the perfect Pilla supporter, congratulations. When you have nothing else, bend the facts to just about their breakage point and left them fly. The first derogatory statement was made by your dear Pilla who obviously does nothing wrong in your view.
Conservative NYer September 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I can't take it!! LOL Believe me, YOU have NO CLUE about me or how I am personally so your insults mean N.O.T.H.I.N.G! But I am never disrespectful nor criticize others for spelling errors. It just so happens a lot of people post on the go via IPhone, etc. these days because there are some people who work for a living and you post to get a point through! It's a such trifling thing to point out such little spelling errors (that may very well be typos) to others, it just shows the other person’s insecurities and paltriness. BTW, tell me exactly where I have insulted people on this thread? Give me a concrete example word-for-word Mr. Zeller. Do you even pay taxes in this town that your shooting your mouth off about this issue?
E. Nuff Sayd September 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Mr. Didden's pottymouth was set off when Pilla called him a "racist" in released memos that appeared in the Westmore News a couple of weeks ago. Because Bart Didden was part and party to "the" derogatory "racist campaign flyer" during Pilla's first campaign, Pilla became understandably incensed over Didden's insulting questioning pertaining to the Port Chester Festival (where there are MAY be some Spanish speaking people organizing events) VS Port Chester Day (where there MAY NOT be Spanish speaking people organizing events). Partially due to Didden's association with the racist flyer, a Federal judge found that Port Chester elections were biased against Latinos. As a matter of fact, Bart's pal Joe Carvin defended Bart's actions in regards to the flyer as merely "race baiting." Pilla, therefore, instead asking Bart why he is always a racist should have (with civility) queried ... "Bart, why do you always have to be a race baiter?" I am a supporter of human rights and equal opportunity and if Pilla is for that (even if he does some things you consider "wrong" -lower case "w,") I will always support him. If you were for human rights, I would support you too, Mr. Didden. Based on the evidence, however, you and others who think "race baiting" is a an acceptable campaign tactic will never receive my support. In my opinion it is -capital "W"- Wrong to use derogatory "race baiting" while campaigning. Yes, I am supporting Nita Lowey, too.
E. Nuff Sayd September 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM
I am also concerned with some of the false patriotism I see on this thread. Samuel Johnson made his famous pronouncement that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" on the evening of April 7, 1775. Bart Didden is proud of cutting taxes... I am sorry but it is no act of patriotism when you steal from the fund balance and the rainy day fund to send $100 dollars back to the average taxpayer. Name calling and using language unsuitable for civilized discourse is not the act of a patriot. The "he started it" excuse is pathetic. Using ignorant platitudes like this one... "Maybe that's why our sense of Country, patriotism and pride in our Constitution and values has become a diminishing concern to so many over where the next free hand out is coming..." What is the free handout? Handing over our tax money to the wealthy is a patriotic duty? I dont think so, that is the REAL handout. Standing and saluting the flag is not patriotism. True patriots fight injustice. True patriots stand for free speech and equal opportunity. True patriots that happen to be successful want to pay their fair share of taxes. They do this because they understand that the source of their wealth is based on a mutual agreement between government (the source of a transportation system- free handout), their employees (taxpayer educated- free handout) and the rule of law (taxpayer funded justice system- free handout). False patriots sit home and watch FOX News and believe every lie they hear and see.
Elizabeth Rotfeld September 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM
This is so ridiculous that im forced to respond. Conservative NYer i don't mean to attack you but you kinda started this whole negative mudslinging by attacking Mrs Obuch, Mr Ortiz and from the way i perceive it the whole KSS family. My 8 year old boy just led the Pledge at the Village 911 Ceremony. He learned it from home and it was reinforced on a daily basis in school each day. Kudos to Amy Simmons for bringing those on this post who obviously have no knowledge about KSS up to speed with regard to our fine school and how we celebrate america and pay tribute to our veterans and fallen soldiers. On another note i hope all of you are safe during this nasty storm.
Conservative NYer September 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
No offense taken at all Elizabeth. I don't feel attacked either just for the record. There are those of us who CAN have civilized conversations and agree to disagree. (Obviously the above comments are not directed towards you.) I'm sorry that you feel that I have attacked Mrs. Obuch and Mr. Ortiz. I do believe I raised valid points as to WHY this would even happen in the first place. Everyone's opinions are always subjective, aren't they? I am just interpreting what I read in this news article and what I have been told by friends who have children that go to KSS. According to the news reporting from this article the statement reads: "After hearing concerns from parents, Ortiz says he is developing a schedule to have different classes recite the Pledge." There is a difference between questioning and attacking. I believe I was questioning why if you have read all of my above posts. Since Mr. Ortiz is new his predecessor, Mrs. Obuch (excuse me if I don't have the correct spelling of her name which I received from http://pc.westmorenews.com/atf.php?sid=16809 for those of you who said I spelled her name incorrectly) should be held just as accountable if not even more, IF this is the case.
Conservative NYer September 19, 2012 at 01:25 AM
The other question I have is WHY would there even be a need to "develop a schedule to have different classes recite the Pledge” IF there were one in place already? Can anyone answer that question? As I said in my previous post “As for reciting The Pledge of Allegiance I am pleased to know that Mr. Ortiz will be implementing a daily routine to say The Pledge of Allegiance, in the proper manner and respect in which it should always be said.” God Bless to ALL..
Bart Didden September 19, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Good Morning E. Nuff Sayd, My record as an elected official speaks for itself, so if you want to focus on events in which I participated in almost 6 years ago then that's okay. If my service in your eyes have not been honorable over the last 2 years and if you believe that a person can't rise to the Oath of Office than be sure to apply that standard to all the people around you as well as you hide behind your anonymity here on this blog. Port Chester Day, which is what the e-mail string was about (not school policies) which your referring to between me and the Mayor was about promoting a Village wide event to our residents. It had nothing to do about Spanish, Latinos or Hispanics. The fact is that in the most recent study the Village received states that Port Chester is almost 60% Hispanic. So when I wrote about Port Chester Day and promoting it to all of our residents, I knew that the majority of the people here in OUR Village is Hispanic and I don't serve separate constituencies. It is your Mayor, just like your President, that looks to separate and pit one group against another. But that is okay, you can continue to paint me as you wish and the next time I answer a constituent request for help I will just smile and know that I have served my Oath to work for everyone. I am sure that you will continue your quest of misinformation and slander as well.
Bart Didden September 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Sorry again @ E. Nuff Sayd, But your facts are wrong again. The first budget that I participated in creating just ended May 31, 2012. The audit from an external firm has just been completed and while we cut about 2 million dollars from the proposed planned spending supported by the Manager, Mayor Pilla and Trustee Brakewood, resulted in a SURPLUS of about $360,000.00, which will be put into the fund balance. Redistribution is not the answer, getting a job is the answer and becoming part of the solution of our growing debt. I complain about the amount of taxes we ALL pay here in Port Chester, not the rate that I pay vs. what you or anyone else pays. I continue to work on behalf of the whole and not the north, south, east or west parts of our Village.


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