Students at in Cobble Hill now begin each morning with the Pledge of Allegiance, a ritual that's been absent from the school for more than ten years.
While it was parents that first complained to Principal Melanie Raneri Woods about the missing patriotic ode, other parents are hoping the school uses this opportunity to teach the history of the pledge as well as cultural sensitivity to the diverse student body.
At a PTA meeting last month, Woods first discussed the issue with parents.
"We haven't done it, but it is a requirement," Woods said to the more than 30 parents in the auditorium at the school. "If a parent wants it, I have no choice, we have to do it, it's fine, the kids will get the whole picture."
"The question is not if, but how?" she added.
Indeed, New York State law mandates schools to recite the pledge, though students are not required to participate. In the weeks following the September 11th attacks, the New York City Board of Education passed a resolution to reinforce the state law. According to an article in the Daily News, PS 29 was out of compliance at that time, too.
Some parents, unhappy with the mandated recitation, hope the elementary school will lead discussions around the origins of the pledge and how it has evolved since Frances Bellamy penned it in 1892.
Pietro Costa, parent of a PS 29 fifth grader, attended the PTA meeting and was unhappy to learn that the pledge had been reinstated.
He believes the school should have had an open discussion with parents and students, rather than immediately agreeing to comply with the state law and the Department of Education resolution.
"The DOE resolution was passed in 2001 under emotional circumstances," he said.
He also expressed concern over students bullying peers who choose not to recite the pledge.
"It’s ironic because the school was just dealing with issues of bullying and how to deal with peer pressure," he noted. "Here you have the perfect example of bullying."
Denver Buston, a local business owner (with Costa), writer and parent of a PS 29 first grader, is also concerned.
Buston explains that his daughter "enjoys" reciting the pledge, but that, as a first-grader, "she doesn’t really know what the words mean."
Like Costa, Buston hopes the school uses this issue as a learning opportunity. He is particularly troubled by the phrase "under God,” which was added to the pledge in 1954.
While kindergartners and first graders are likely "too young to understand the concept of separation of church and state," Buston hopes that PS 29 teaches older students about this issue.
Principal Woods did not return calls for comment, but at the PTA meeting last month, Woods expressed her desire to seize the teachable moment.
"We have such a diverse population at PS 29," she said. "We will not do it [the pledge] without the context of an intellectual conversation with the children."
Georgia Kral contributed reporting