POLL: Do We Need a State Law Requiring Pledge of Allegiance in Schools?

House will consider joining Senate to make daily ceremonies mandatory.

We’re one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all – a familiar phrase that some state legislators believe should be a required way for students to start each day.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday passed a bill to mandate Pledge of Allegiance ceremonies daily in public elementary and secondary schools. Students still could choose not to recite it.

A companion proposal, also sent to the full House, would require an American flag in each classroom.

"It's about the foundation of our country," Committee Chair Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a Republican, is quoted by Mlive Media Group as saying after this week’s vote. "It gets students thinking about the United States and what we stand for."

Democrats joined Republicans in voting 16-1 in favor of the Pledge bill and 15-2 to require flags.

Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, dissented on both votes. "I just don't know that it's a problem," he said, according to MLive. "Schools are reciting the pledge. And if you find one that’s not, take it up with the school board because it should be a board decision."

Michigan senators passed similar bills last November in a move to join 43 states requiring that pupils at least hear the Pledge each school day.

The issue, which has arisen around the country, was . David Holden, elected to the board last November, proposed a requirement that all students begin the day with the 19-word Pledge – not currently recited in the Washtenaw County district’s middle school or high school. "It works very well with some of the things we are trying to do to discourage bullying," he said Jan. 10. It was the original diversity document before people started talking about diversity."

The well-known Pledge was written in 1892 by Frank Bellamy, a Baptist minister from New York. Congress added the words "under God" in 1954.

What do you think? Tell us in the poll or comments below.

Rick June 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
As a Royal Oak High School student, I think it's unnecessary to recite the pledge. Teachers are already struggling to fit their lesson plans into fifty-seven minute class periods, and this law would strain them even more.
Chris Pariseau June 08, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I think it's a good idea in elementary and in history/social study classes. However, I don't feel it needs to be made a law.
Harry Bissell June 08, 2012 at 12:36 PM
I think its a good idea because maybe students will ponder over the verse "and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands" and learn that we don't live in a democracy !
tony June 08, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The article misquoted. That would be one nation "UNDER GOD" indivisible.......
Leslie Seery June 08, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This is a good idea, however the state government is over stepping their boundaries to mandate all state public schools to say the pledge. I believe the school districts need to make this decision.
Dave W June 08, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Why exactly should the government pass a law that requires citizens to recite a pledge? Even if the student has the right to "opt out" of saying it (I think they already have that right), the government should never be mandating that its citizens recite anything daily. I agree if schools want to do it, then they should do it. If schools don't do it, that's fine too, and parents can petition the school to start doing it, if they feel it is that necessary. There's no reason to make it law though.
Bham Resident June 08, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This is completely nuts.
David Weaver June 08, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I agree Tony.
Alan Stamm June 08, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The article opens with a paraphrase of the Pledge, which appears in full as the second photo above (click on flag image to enlarge). The partial phrasing was chosen for reasons of style and brevity, with no disrespect intended. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tony and David.
SY June 08, 2012 at 08:00 PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." - Establishment Clause, First Amendment of U.S. Constitution When the Pledge of Allegiance was changed on 1954 to include the words "under God", they respected all monotheistic establishments of religion (with Christianity in general, in mind.) While students are not required to recite it, they are placed in a setting where they are compelled to. The addition also respects monotheistic religions by implying that the U.S. itself is officially monotheistic, when in fact, there is no official religion of the country. While most of the Founding Fathers were Christian, they were wise enough to avoid favoring one religion or set of religions over another. As a Christian (as many people here are), imagine if the pledge said "One nation under Allah", or "One nation under Buddha". You now have a better idea of what it's like for those who are Buddhists, atheists/non-religious, polytheists (i.e. Hindu), etc. to be pressured to recite "One nation under God". But religious aspect aside, there is also little sense into having... kindergartners recite the Pledge. At that age, almost everyone in the class can't even pronounce the words to the Pledge, much less comprehend the slightest bit of what it means.
Pete Rogan June 08, 2012 at 11:59 PM
If we don't make pledging allegiance to God mandatory, how will the terrorists NOT win? I ask you.
Inner Voice June 09, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I think the House Education Committee could find better ways to spend their time. There's no need for this to be mandated at the state level. Individual teachers, or schools or school boards can work this out with the local families. This is an example of government over reach.
Garry G Brigolin June 09, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I also believe we have too many laws now. However, the lack of pride in the United States of America is frightening. The idea that time spent reciting our nation's pledge takes away from learning/study time is ridiculous. Lets make belief and pride in our nations history and ideals a course of study.
Garry G Brigolin June 09, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I agree. The exemption of one nation "Under God" says a lot about us.
Mike Spears June 09, 2012 at 03:07 AM
A complete waste of time and excuse to force religion into schools but few politicians are going to vote "against America." The God phrase was only added as an afterthought during the Commie scare in the 50s. The Pledge of Allegiance has its place but don't force it. Let local school boards run their schools. Let local school boards engage in representative democracy and fund their schools locally, bargain locally and make their own P of A decisions. Remember when Republicans pushed for local control? Those days are gone.
Mike Spears June 09, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head.
Terry Carlson June 09, 2012 at 12:16 PM
The idea of taking time to make the pledge manditory is a function of the local school board. We talk here about the pledge which I believe is a good thing but why aren't talking about Senate Bill 59 which is going to make concealed weapons legal in schools, churches, bars etc. if passed. I would urge everyone to contact their state Senator and state Representative to voice their disapproval of this bill.
Ed Lambert June 09, 2012 at 02:20 PM
No law is necessary. Why don't school districts already have a moment set aside for recitation of the Pledge? Why should there be any fuss about a few students who do not participate? If there is no time for the Pledge in a school, then we might ask administrators why this is so. Then we'll get to watch them squirm as they grovel for one silly excuse or another. But they are "broadminded" folks, of course.
Garry G Brigolin June 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Thanks Tony, good observation.
Barbara Meloche June 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Good grief! When will our legislatures get around to solving our real problems when they spend their time on such silliness. Most schools already do this, at least every public school I've ever worked in or known about. Where do you think most kids learn the pledge in the first place? It may not be everyday or every grade level but it is taught and recited, sometimes in individual classes or over the school PA.
Wow June 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Pete, was you being sarcastic with use question? If no, then here be your answer: Terrorism is driven by religion. Extremist Muslim terrorists blow themselves up in the name of Allah. Organized religion is a house of cards. The sooner people start questioning the ridiculousness of not eating meat on Friday/prohibiting birth-control the sooner kids in the middle-east will start questioning their religion, too. Pete, the terrorist can only lose one way. Their religion needs to be taken from them non forcefully. Islam needs to simply fade out-- with the others.... but then of course a new breed of terrorists-- scarce resource terrorists (water, minerals, fuels)-- will crop up.
Jim Rutkowski June 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
It's a shame that this has to be legislated. The school districts should make this part of their curriculum. Teachers should included the benefits of living in this country in their daily lesson plans. Students need to learn about this country so that they have a better understanding of our laws, our heritage and our place in the world.
Herb Helzer June 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Any bill attempting to compel schoolchildren to salute the flag is unconstitutional, per the U.S. Supreme Court's 1943 decision "West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette." From Justice Robert Jackson's majority opinion: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." In their concurring opinion, Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas wrote: "Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest, Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws enacted by the people's elected representatives within the bounds of express constitutional prohibitions." Finally, back to Justice Jackson: "To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds." The key here is that Barnette was decided on the basis of the Free Speech clause, NOT the Establishment Clause. The phrase "under God" is not relevant to understand how wrong-headed GOP legislators are in this effort. And it's THEIR effort: House Democrats voted 'yes' because A) They couldn't prevent it; and 2) To avoid creating an "issue" for voters.
Herb Helzer June 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM
One other concern: Why are PUBLIC school children being singled out here? Is there something about charter schools and private schools that confers a higher level of patriotism, such that ordering them to plant American flags in every classroom and compelling their students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day is unnecessary?
Sue Czarnecki June 11, 2012 at 05:44 PM
This is what the Republican legislature is doing with its time. I thought Michigan needed jobs.
Jan June 11, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Maybe,it time for a part-time state legislature
Alan Stamm June 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Mr. Helzer: Fair observation and question, so thanks for this chance to clarify. First, the pending legislation wouldn't compel each pupil to say the Pledge or salute the flag. It would require a daily Pledge ceremony, during which any student could decline to recite, to stand or to remain in the room. As for your other concern: The pending legislation covers charter schools, which are public institutions receiving state "foundation" (per-pupil) grants from the Michigan Department of Education. Parochial and private schools don't receive taxpayer support and are exempt from government control over curriculum and classroom activities. In the case of parochial eduction, the constitutional principle of church-state separation applies. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Jeffery Berz June 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM
What’s wrong with kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance? I wonder how many kids even know it these days. I think we need to get some values back into the schools and teach the children pride in America in spite of some of the shortcomings that are taking place across the country. People used to fly the flag and be proud. It would be great to see that happen again.
David Waggoner June 16, 2012 at 12:05 AM
This is just a political trick. Let kids say "and to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands" over and over again, so that whenit comes time to vote, they will associate the word with REPUBLICAN and thus vote that way in the future. Democrats will look unpatriotic if they vote against it. This should be handled at the district level. And most schools I know already say it.


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