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Pledge of Allegiance to be Recited at Schools

May 15, 2002
By: Javier Solano

JEFFERSON CITY - Starting Aug. 28 Missouri's public schools will be required to provide students with at least one opportunity a week to recite the pledge of allegiance under a bill that cleared the Legislature on Wednesday and is now headed for the governor's desk.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. House, D-St. Charles, said the goal of the bill is to increase patriotism among young Missourians.

"I think our public schools ought to send a positive message about patriotic values and teach our children about what it means to be an American and the sacrifices that have come before us," House said.

"I think that the attack on the nation heightened the sensitivity about the importance of teaching our children our rights and responsibilities as American citizens (...)," he said.

On Tuesday the House massively supported the bill on a 136-9 vote.

Rep. Richard Franklin, D-Independence, opposed the bill on the grounds that the government would be mandating the schools' actions.

House responded that public schools are paid for by state funds.

"I feel very strongly that these are public schools, they're certainly authorized and created by the state and the policy of the state should be that we teach our children patriotism and respect for the American flag and the pledge of allegiance," he said.

Students will not be required to recite the pledge if their parents express any objection to the teacher or school principal.

Both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly usually recite the pledge every day when called to order at the beginning of the session.