An Alabama lawmaker is looking to take his state back to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools before they start their days.
According to BizPac Review, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, who is a Republican, introduced House Bill 339 after learning his grandchild was not familiar with the pledge.
From BizPac Review:
The Republican lawmaker was prompted to act after finding out last year that his fifth-grade grandchild wasn’t reciting the Pledge every morning at school, even though the Alabama Board of Education requires schools to allow students in public kindergarten, primary, and secondary schools to recite the Pledge every day.
The proposed bill seeks to transfer authority over the Pledge away from the school board, which is unable to enforce it, and make it a state law.
“I guess this gives it some teeth,” Ledbetter said. “It gives leaders of the schools and principals a law in place where they won’t be afraid for their students to say it.”
The law would not require students to recite the Pledge, as per previous court rulings, but the lawmaker noted that it would now keep it in the classroom and require schools to begin each day with it.
Ledbetter acknowledged there “may be some religious objections,” but said “it does keep the Pledge in our schools.”
According to the report, The National Conference of State Legislatures said only 43 states require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited every day at school.
“But, while the requirement is on the schools, students in the classrooms are not obligated to stand for the Pledge or to recite it, according to court rulings and the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which barred schools from requiring students to do so,” the report adds.
The majority leader also acknowledged that the law could lead to some disciplinary problems, should teachers or student administrators mishandle a situation where a student does not stand to recite the pledge.
These type of situations have occurred in Florida and Texas, BizPac Review reports:
Across the country, many schools and state governments have faced lawsuits over issues involving students and the Pledge of Allegiance, such as a student in Florida who was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer earlier this year when a refusal to stand for the Pledge led to an argument with school officials.
The state of Texas is currently involved in a lawsuit because a student was disciplined for not standing for or reciting the Pledge, and in Colorado last year, a 20-year veteran teacher pleaded guilty to child abuse charges after physically forcing a middle-school student to his feet when he refused to stand for the Pledge.
Ledbetter said his goal in introducing the legislation was to return Alabama to the country’s heritage.
WTHR reports Alabama’s House Education Policy Committee took up Ledbetter’s bill on Wednesday where it was unanimously approved. The bill will now be heading to for a final vote on the House floor.