(Fargo, ND) -- Ahead of their special meeting Thursday evening, one member of the Fargo School Board is speaking out on the topic of the Pledge of Allegiance involving board meetings.
Robin Nelson, the only board member who ran for re-election successfully this past June, says her decision to vote 'No' on removing the Pledge at the board's August 9th meeting was because, in her words, the choice to recite the pledge was being taken away.
"The Supreme Court has ruled that anybody can not participate if they choose and that’s the way I wanted to keep it," said Nelson while speaking with reporter Tom Tucker ahead of Thursday's special meeting. "Let me still recite it, and if you choose not to that’s fine, that’s your decision. If you choose not to use the words 'Under God' that’s part of your decision as well. If you want to kneel that’s your right as well, but don’t take my right away from saying the pledge."
Nelson was joined by fellow member Nikkie Gullickson in their 'No' votes of removing the pledge, while the other seven board members voted to remove it. This led to wide-spread disagreement, both with community members locally and across the nation, something Nelson says has been a bit overwhelming for the district.
"It’s overwhelming to say the least," said Nelson. "Many have been calling the district office as well and they have three staff members that are just fielding these media inquiries and comments around the nation. It’s become quite taxing for the employees of our school district, not just the school board."
Earlier this week, School Board President Dr. Tracie Newman called for a special meeting to be held Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the District Offices to discuss the ramifications of the decision to remove the pledge, and possibly re-instate it to the beginning of school board meetings going forward.
The pledge was initially pulled in the August 9th meeting due to what board member Seth Holden called 'factual inaccuracies' involving the words 'liberty and justice for all', and for the term 'under God' not alligning with the district's policy on inclusion.