Students in Susan Spurlock’s sixth-grade social studies class at Charles Town Middle School participated in a project-based learning assignment titled “To Burn or Not to Burn.”
The students analyzed the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, examined key words and rewrote the pledge in their own words. The students then collaboratively identified the symbolism within “Old Glory” and designed their own flags.
After analyzing and discussing the First Amendment rights and polling community members on the question, “Do you believe there should be a First Amendment that makes it legal to burn the flag in protest?,” the students wrote letters to the president.
They discussed the work they did, community poll results and their personal opinions on the matter. Mrs. Spurlock mailed the letters to the president and received a response from President Obama. It read:
Thank you for writing. I always appreciate hearing from young Americans like you, and I am glad you took the time to share your views with me.
“America’s potential can be measured by the creative ideas and inquisitive minds of our students. Your eagerness to explore the world around you and engage others in discussing important issues will help you improve the future your generation will inherit. As you continue to grow and learn, remember that you can achieve great things when you work hard, believe in yourself, and try each day to help those around you.
“Our country is counting on you to be he best student you can be, so set your sights high, seek out new challenges, and know I expect great things from you as you chart the course of our Nation’s unwritten history.
“Thank you, again, for writing. I wish you all the best.”
— Barack Obama”