Members of the Fargo, N.D., School Board quickly reversed a decision to stop opening meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance after public backlash, including a barrage of threats.

The board voted in early August to stop recitation of the Pledge, in part because its reference to God could be seen as not welcoming to all members of the community, reported the Fargo Forum.

The vote captured national attention, and members said they were deluged with negative messages, many of them from people out of the area. They voted 8-1 Aug. 18 to restore the Pledge.

Some members said the issue had become a distraction.

“While this past week, I’ve been threatened with violence … my belief in the goodness of Fargo citizens has not been shaken,” said board member Greg Clark.

The lone “no” vote came from board member Nyamal Dei, the first Black woman elected to the board. During the meeting, Dei played a voicemail message she had received that contained racist language.

“Hate has no place in this community. It does not make a strong Democracy,” Dei said.

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