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Teacher leads kids in Pledge of Allegiance during pandemic

Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 17:16:42-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Even though kids aren't in school right now, some elementary students from Kenowa Hills are still in a routine.

"The idea for this came from so many elementary families in our neighborhood where moms and dads are now homeschool teachers and they needed a routine," said Kenowa Hills high school teacher, Todd Johnston.

Johnston has been teaching for 20 years and has begun every day in the classroom with the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I'm pretty proud of respectfully doing the Pledge of Allegiance in our high school every day," he added.

Now, he's working with those younger students who happen to be his neighbors. Every week day morning at precisely 9 A.M., he goes outside to lead the kids in the pledge.

"When they're not at school, it gives them a routine and a respect for our flag and our nation."

The families come out of the house while 'Mr. J' as the kids call him, stands at the end of the driveway. In fact, Mr. J even takes attendance before beginning the pledge and the kids are learning quickly.

"We're doing it because we're respecting people who fought in the war," fifth grader Emery Follett said.

"We get up, get breakfast, do our morning work, go out for the Pledge of Allegiance and come back in for free time," first grader Leland Follett added.

And in a time like this, a simple act like saying the pledge can make a major difference.

"In a time where it all feels kind of grim, it's honoring our country and it lifts our spirits every morning to have our boys go out and say the pledge," mother Tara Follett added.

And other mothers in the neighborhood feel the same way as they adapt to these times.

"I'm new to homeschooling," Andrew Waldhart said, "so it's a shift but it definitely sets the tone for our day. It gives us something to look forward to then move from there."

And after the pledge is finished, Mr. J visits with the kids, sharing some laughs and assigning some homework for the day.

"He thinks his dancing is really good but it's really silly," first grader Cece Waldhart laughed.

Johnston says he'll continue to do this every weekday morning until school is back in session.

"This two minutes of sincerity is a great way to start our day together," said Johnston.