Well, the teacher should not have forced the child to place his hand on his heart. Requiring the child to stand with the class would have been enough, and has sufficed in the past - although even that was ruled not required by the Court of Appeals. In 1940, SCOTUS ruled that public schools had the right to force them to do so (and that caused a lot of violence against JWs). That decision was reversed in 1943. Since it's a government school, the teacher had no legal standing for what was done.
We taught our son the pledge, and we said it every day when we homeschooled. It's ironic to note that so many Christians are against the pledge now simply because the author was proclaimed to be socialist (a little study of the two men involved will show that the term as applied to Bellamy was not what we think of today...). They are in "good" company: anarchists hate it because America is an imperialistic pig and atheists hate it because it mentions God (I know, I know, it wasn't there originally - but it wasn't written with the intention of it being said every day by every school child for the rest of time...it was written as part of a 400th anniversary Columbus Day ceremony [and resulted in the Columbus Day holiday]. Bellamy also wanted to re-awaken the American spirit, which was at a low ebb at that time. As it continued to be recited, people decided they wanted "under God" added. It took a lot of years, but they succeeded).
I'm sorry, John, but your accusations don't hold up with any history of the flag that I have read...could you cite your sources of Baptists and many other Christians who considered it a form of idolatry? I know that now many ("religious" of all stripe...) are pushing that idea, but haven't been able to find any from then...The pledge was fully accepted in the "secular" realm from the time of its introduction. The 50s saw JWs challenging it in court, and 1954 saw the addition of "Under God" to the pledge (there are those who believe it was added then, even though people had been trying to get it in there for years, because of the cold war, and to differentiate us from the atheism of communism). That phrase wasn't really challenged until recent years.
Bellamy did consider himself a socialist of sorts (I say of sorts because he was not a subscriber to the idea of socialism as we know it today). He was a Christian (yes, there were Christians who were socialists) who was grieved at the inequality he saw around him. Specifically in the way in which women and blacks were treated. THAT is where his focus of socialism was. He loved this country, and he loved the Republican form of government which our founders gave us. He chose Republic because it distinguished our form of government. He was promoting the idea of looking at our form of government in the right way - justice and liberty for all, which was what the founders intended. It was not written to get anyone to think nationally but not locally. He considered a lot of things, and felt that, with all of the struggle this country had gone through - in both wars, not just the War of Northern Aggression - that we were one nation indivisible. And, really, that is what our founders envisioned. States who were republic in form of law, in a country - undivided - in a republican form of government.
I do believe that it is common in most states for government buildings to fly the state flag and the US flag, while most businesses fly the American flag. I don't see anything wrong with that...