Bemidji School Board discusses meeting procedures for Pledge of Allegiance, public comment

The Bemidji School Board held a lengthy meeting Monday.

This was the first formal school board meeting for the three newly sworn-in members that won four-year terms.

After handling some routine and seemingly uncontroversial items such as the formal hire of the Northern Elementary Principal Wendy Templin, the board’s nearly three-hour meeting included discussions on the Pledge of Allegiance.

Justin Hoover initiated the conversation on the statutory requirement for the Pledge in schools.

Dave Wall said he found it to be a great opportunity to show unity at the beginning of the meetings.

Julie Laitala provided a recap of some of her research into the at-times controversial history of the Pledge, including its previous versions and associated salutes.

No formal action passed the floor, as it failed by a 3-3 vote.

The board also held a discussion on moving the public comment period back to the televised portion of the meetings.

This move was made, according to school board chair Ann Long Voelkner, who reflected she was in favor of moving public comment to the untelevised portion of the meeting, and emphasized the public should be aware of what the district’s policies are in regards to public comment.


No action was taken at the meeting Monday, as the public comment section is not required by statute.

The board will discuss the item again in their February meeting.

© 2020 HBI Radio Bemidji, LLC d/b/a Paul Bunyan Broadcasting 502 Beltrami Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601 This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area