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Atlanta School Drops Pledge of Allegiance

As the controversy surrounding the National Anthem and the NFL continues to rage, an Atlanta charter school could be opening up the next political battleground.

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, which houses students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, has announced it will no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. (Students will have the opportunity to say the pledge at a different point in the day, if they choose.)

“Over the past couple of years it has become increasingly obvious that more and more of our community were choosing to not stand and/or recite the pledge,” said elementary campus Principal Lara Zelski, an 11-year veteran of the school.

The decision, the school said, was made “in an effort to begin our day as a fully inclusive and connected community.” In the coming months, officials say, the school will work with students to create a school pledge that focuses on civic responsibility to the school, community, country, and global society.

While it’s the action of a single school, the move is already courting national controversy.

The NFL is still stinging from player protests during the National Anthem, going so far as to set a policy requiring players to stand this season, though the league has decided not to enforce that policy in the short term.