Editorial: We pledge our allegiance

Graphic by Theresa Lee

Every classroom has one: a simple sheet of red, white and blue cloth, yet its meaning is so complex. Every morning, we pledge our allegiance to the American flag. But what does that even mean?

This year, our Editor-in-Chief made the decision to add the flag back to the front banner of the Torch. After all, publishing a newspaper is one of the most American things an organization can do. For the Torch editorial board, the flag symbolizes part of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

As a result of this amendment, the Torch staff has the ability to carry out the responsibilities of the press. Whether it be conducting interviews to investigate Glenbrook North’s recycling or taking pictures of the hidden tunnels underneath the building, we appreciate the ability to perform our duties as journalists, speaking freely (within reason) without the fear of repercussions from our government or the school administration.

Across the world, however, journalists face life-threatening situations. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 56 journalists were killed in 2018 due to their involvement in the press. It is important to recognize that the freedom of speech and the press is not available everywhere, and thus cannot be taken for granted.

To ensure that the Torch staff is not taking these freedoms for granted, special procedures lace our publication process to avoid any inaccurate reporting. By attempting to fact-check every statement and story printed in this paper, we strive to publish our news with precision and accuracy. If you reread the first sentence of this editorial, you will notice we labeled the flag as a piece of cloth. It was initially identified as nylon. But after speaking with multiple school officials, the exact material could not be confirmed, so this detail was not published.

This piece of cloth serves as a reminder of these freedoms. Whether you are a teacher or a student, look up at the flag in class and take a moment to recognize the rights you have. Or maybe you can do more than just recognize them: share your opinion in class, write a letter to your state representative or submit a Letter to the Editor for the Torch staff.

So, to what are we really pledging our allegiance?

Well, as GBN begins a new school year, we, as the Torch staff, pledge our allegiance. We pledge our allegiance to journalists around the world putting their lives on the line to report news. We pledge our allegiance to the freedom of speech and the press. We pledge our allegiance to not take these freedoms for granted, bringing our readers accurate reporting, genuine to the core.