Local News

State Legislator Wants All N.C. Classrooms To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance

Posted March 11, 2005

— The Pledge of Allegiance is a daily ritual for many elementary schools across North Carolina. By the time students reach higher grades, the pledge becomes less common, but that may soon change.

Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, wants to require every North Carolina classroom to recite the pledge every day.

There has not been a large outcry over the Pledge of Allegiance in North Carolina schools, and some question why it needs to be a legislative priority.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, calls the pledge mandate political and "trivial compared to serious school needs."

"I grew up reciting the pledge every day, and I still turned out to be a left-wing radical," she said.

"We have substantial funding issues. We have some substantial growth issues we're trying to deal with," said Greg Decker, principal of West Lake Middle School. "If that's how they want me to spend 15, 20 seconds, I will do so."

"This is a basic fundamental thing that our children need to be aware of -- that we are a great country and our public schools should have no problem reminding them of that fact," Hunt said.

Even if the bill passes, students will not have to recite the pledge if they do not want to. They can simply sit it out. The North Carolina School Boards Association opposes the proposed legislation.

The Pledge of Allegiance was initially known as the Pledge to the Flag in 1892 in anticipation of a Columbus Day celebration. Fifty years later, Congress officially sanctioned the pledge.

In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled school children should not be forced to recite the pledge. In 1954, the pledge underwent its final change -- and a controversial one at that -- when the phrase "under God" was added.


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