Lawmakers and activists have been battling over whether students should be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day for years now. Although most people agree that the child should be able to refrain from reciting the pledge if he or she feels that is best for the individual, other people believe that the government should have the power to force children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and make it a requirement in all schools across each state in the country.
Not long ago, Republican Representative John Fillmore representing Apache Junction, Arizona, believes that all students should be required by law to pledge their loyalty to the United States of America.
That’s why Fillmore has proposed a bill that would force schoolchildren to stand up and place their hands over their hearts and recite the words that Americans know by heart:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
As a way to sidesteps the first amendment issue, Fillmore wrote that children would be exempt from reciting the pledge if their parent steps in and do it for them. However, he believes that the pledge is a time of “quiet reflection and moral reasoning” that can help improve the character of young American children – and those going to Arizona schools.
Most schools include time for the pledge at the beginning of the school day. However, this was never a mandatory requirement as students are not required to recite the pledge because of their first amendment rights. That’s why Fillmore’s proposal drew a lot of criticism and comparisons to how his policy sounds like something straight from an authoritarian regime like those in North Korea or Iran.
“Nothing like being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to teach kids about freedom.”
Another commented, “You can’t force someone to do it.”
After Fillmore worked to push forward the bill, Governor Doug Ducey spoke about it. He admitted that he already thought it was required for students to recite the pledge and that he thinks it is a good idea for students to do it.
“I’m a fan of the Pledge of Allegiance,” the governor told reporters. “I would be hopeful that all of our kids, especially our kids in grade school, would begin each day with the pledge.”
Fillmore hopes to start students on the pledge in kindergarten.
The bill states, “FOR KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS AND GRADES ONE THROUGH TWELVE, set aside a specific time each day for those students who wish PUPILS to recite the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag. PUPILS SHALL RECITE THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNITED STATES FLAG DURING THIS TIME. AT THE REQUEST OF A PARENT, THE PARENT’S PUPIL SHALL BE EXCUSED FROM THE REQUIREMENT OF THIS PARAGRAPH.”
His bill added, “FOR KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS AND GRADES ONE THROUGH TWELVE, SET ASIDE A SPECIFIC TIME EACH DAY FOR PUPILS TO ENGAGE IN QUIET REFLECTION AND MORAL REASONING FOR AT LEAST ONE MINUTE. PUPILS SHALL ENGAGE IN QUIET REFLECTION AND MORAL REASONING DURING THIS TIME. AT THE REQUEST OF A PARENT, THE PARENT’S PUPIL SHALL BE EXCUSED FROM THE REQUIREMENT OF THIS PARAGRAPH.”
Do you think it should be required?