After backlash, Fargo School Board votes to reinstate Pledge at meetings

August 19, 2022

FARGO (KFGO) – The Fargo School Board voted 8-1 Thursday to reinstate the recitation of the pledge at all regular board meetings just nine days after voting to stop reciting the pledge. The vote came after backlash from the board’s decision earlier this month to stop reciting the pledge.

Several members spoke about backlash they received over the Aug. 9 vote.

Board member Nyamal Dei, the lone dissenting voter, played an audio recording of a message she received that was laced with racist threats. Dei expressed concern over whether voting to reinstate the pledge would change anything, adding that we should be respectful of differences.

While many of the messages from the public were negative, members said they received support as well. Board member Greg Clark said he was able to trace the emails he received and found only 19 percent were from Fargo residents. Of the 19 percent, 43 percent were supportive of the vote to stop reciting the Pledge.

Clark said he was voting to reinstate the pledge because he felt it was the right thing to do to move forward with the school year.

Many of the board members who spoke apologized to the public and to other board members for the backlash they received.

Board Vice President Seth Holden also apologized for the pain the other members endured with the negative comments and, like Dei, expressed concern that reinstating the Pledge would change anything. He also said he worries about what will happen to the board and future decisions.

“We’re going to have to probably be prepared to take more heat than we normally do for decisions we make,” Holden said.

Holden said he worries about the war on truth, decency, and public education.

Board member Katie Christensen said she received several threats and filed a police report on seven emails and one voicemail. She wondered what an impact there could be if the passion people had about the Pledge vote was directed to schools.

The board voted 7-2 at their Aug. 9 meeting to stop reciting the pledge, something that only began in March. It did not affect classrooms or other activities.