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Arizona Bill Would Force Kids To Say Pledge of Allegiance In School

Ryan Ford 5 Dec 2019

In Arizona, Republican Rep. John Fillmore has introduced a bill that would require students to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning unless excused by a parent, ABC 15 reported.

At present, students are not required to recite the pledge, but schools must provide kids the time to recite it if they wish to.

Governor Doug Ducey told reporters that he supports the idea of students saying the pledge and was not aware that they weren't currently required to do so.

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"I'm a fan of the Pledge of Allegiance," he said, according to AZCentral.com. "I would be hopeful that all of our kids, especially our kids in grade school, would begin each day with the pledge."

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However, Gov. Ducey stopped short of saying he supported the bill.

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"I don't comment on laws as they're traveling through the Legislature," he said. "I just think it's a great idea for kids in grade school to start the day with the pledge."

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The ACLU opposes Rep. Fillmore's bill, arguing that it's unconstitutional.

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Spokeswoman Marcela Taracena said that compelling students to recite the pledge violates their First Amendment rights and that students should have the right to decide on their own whether they want to say the pledge or not.

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The Supreme Court ruled against requiring the pledge in schools back in 1943.

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Where it gets murkier, however, is whether requiring parental consent to get out of participation is, in effect, forcing kids to recite the pledge.

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A 2008 ruling in a Florida court upheld that state's law allowing an opt-out with parental permission.

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However, a 2004 ruling in Pennsylvania struck down a law that required schools to notify parents if their kids didn't participate in reciting the pledge.

Rep. Fillmore's bill won't be up for consideration until January.

h/t: ABC 15, AZCentral.com

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