Sitting For Change

Sitting For Change

Grace McGowan and Alanya Berent

We’ve been taught in schools about our rights as citizens and students, and on April 8th, one student decided it was time to use those rights. Kylah Avery, a WHBHS sophomore, went viral over a video posted on the app TikTok where she is seen sitting for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The video was posted and immediately sparked attention. Emotions were mixed about the video, but many were very harsh. There were many students who commented on their feelings, some were very against what she felt and others were supportive.

Kylah has shared that the comments don’t bother her very much because she is doing what she thinks is right. She explained her reasoning for choosing to sit for the Pledge. “I haven’t supported the Pledge or the National Anthem for some time now, but I didn’t sit because I was afraid of what people would think of me.” Many students feel very strongly about sitting for the Pledge of Allegiance and according to the NY State School Law, students are not required to stand for the Pledge.

Kylah decided to sit and to record herself doing it because she hoped to inspire others to do what they believe is right. It was never intended for popularity. With posting it she got attention from the right people to share her views on inequality and more. Using this attention she wants to bring awareness towards the many cases around us we know of and see in the news where people of color are being treated unfairly in the justice system.

Along with the negative Kylah also received many positives, such as kind comments from families of veterans and those in active service. These messages were rooted from many comments saying that it was wrong for her to sit because standing represented honoring those who lost their lives fighting for the country. Many of the active service members told Kylah that in no way should she listen to these people in the comments. “The military supports the freedoms that Americans have, we literally have to. Including your freedom to not pledge allegiance to a flag,” says an active service member.

In response to the uproar of the student body commenting on Kylah’s post, the school administration addressed it immediately.WHBHS principale Dr. Herr addressed the student body over the PA and discussed “freedom of expression, individual expression” and reminded students to “treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Following this, the school kept up with her and she claims that Dr. Herr continuously supported her and the same with her teachers. They have kept her safe and constantly checked in on her to ensure that it stayed that way.

What Kylah wants to be taken from this is the message that the pledge is not true to its word. “This country was built on the idea of political and religious freedom and that’s not represented in a statement we all are strongly encouraged to say daily.”

She asks readers to just do a little research about this topic and the country we live in. There are cases with what people believe to be unjust that Kylah wants others to be aware about. With this big movement in our school we realize how important it is to come together and see our differences and to understand and respect them. Take a moment to educate yourself and learn a little more about how others’ views before judging others. Remember the Golden Rule WHB, treat others the way you want to be treated!

Editor’s note: Kylah was published in Newsday after the incident.  Check out her editorial here.