SHELTON - Shelton Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle issued a public statement on social media on Tuesday claiming full responsibility for the decision to rid the Pledge of Allegiance from a recent high school assembly. The decision was made with little time left prior to an assembly that honored Native American right activist Billy Frank Jr on Wednesday, March 6.
A petition was signed by 110 Shelton High School students asking that the school honor their wish of removing the pledge of allegiance from the assembly due to political and moral conflicts. A decision was made to remove the pledge despite the petition only being signed by 1/10 of the student body.
Several students angry at the decision reportedly walked out of the assembly. Later in the day, iFIBER ONE News received a letter from Shelton High School sophomore Josiah Sushak who penned a letter expressing great displeasure over the school’s hasty decision.
It was initially reported that local tribes had some form of influence on the school’s decision but that report turned out to be unfounded according to the school district.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Apostle publicly stated on social media that the decision to not initiate the Pledge of Allegiance at the Shelton High School assembly was “not the appropriate decision regardless of the circumstances involved.” Apostle stressed that at no time either the Squaxin or Skokomish Tribes communicated anything to the Shelton School District against recognizing the flag or national anthem as a prelude to any school assembly.
Apostle went on to say, "The Shelton School District enjoys a positive and wonderful relationship with both tribes and together we will continue working with our students to educate and emphasize with clarity the importance and value of mutual respect for one another and cultural dignity for all people, including the highest respect for our flag and the United States of America. As your Superintendent of Schools, I take full responsibility for moving us forward together.”