All Schools Schedule Daily Pledge of Allegiance
For decades, the vast majority of schools in Buncombe County have encouraged students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day. They have been doing this out of a sincere desire to promote a healthy respect for the American flag and the "republic for which it stands." School officials and Board members did not realize there was actually a North Carolina statute REQUIRING daily recitation of the pledge at all schools, including high schools--some of which had reserved the recitation of the pledge for weekly "homeroom" or "mentor" time, and at school assemblies and other appropriate occasions.
This week, Buncombe County School officials learned that such a law does in fact exist (see below for exact wording of the statute). Within hours of learning of the existence of the law, Buncombe County Board of Education Chairman Steve Sizemore asked Superintendent Baldwin to ensure that all schools immediately become compliant with the law by scheduling recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis. Principals received phone calls and emails to this effect, and the few not already doing so immediately instituted the daily Pledge. Further, Chairman Sizemore instructed the school system attorney to prepare a Board policy requiring the scheduling of the Pledge in all schools on a daily basis. The policy will go before the Board at their September 1 regularly scheduled meeting.
Below is the actual statute the new Board policy will reflect:
G.S. 115C-47(29a) To Require the Display of the United States and North Carolina Flags, and to Require the Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. – Local boards of education shall adopt policies to (i) require the display of the United States and North Carolina flags in each classroom, when available, (ii) require that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance be scheduled on a daily basis, and (iii) provide age‑appropriate instruction on the meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. These policies shall not compel any person to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. If flags are donated or are otherwise available, flags shall be displayed in each classroom.
A post on the ACLU of North Carolina website says the following:
[quote]Pledge of Allegiance Statute -- After the passage of Session Law 2006-137, which amends several North Carolina statutes pertaining to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in state public schools, the ACLU-NCLF received several complaints from parents and teachers who contend that children in North Carolina public schools are being compelled to recite the Pledge and are not being informed that they have the right to refuse to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge, even though North Carolina law clearly provides that a public school “shall not compel any person to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance.” As a result, the ACLU-NCLF sent a letter to the State Superintendent, the Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Education and Lt. Governor Purdue, asking those state officials to immediately instruct all North Carolina Boards of Education to ensure that all public school principals and teachers are aware of this aspect of the law. The State Board Chairman responded, ensuring that all North Carolina superintendents and principals would again be notified that students and teachers may not be compelled to recite the Pledge. [/quote]
Session Law 2006-137 was signed into law in 2006.
Asheville Citizen-Times reports on Aug. 26:
[quote]Buncombe County school officials are working on a policy requiring time be set aside time each day for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The move comes after a complaint that students at Reynolds High were not reciting the pledge daily.
Officials said Thursday they were unaware of a 2006 change in state law mandating time be allotted for the pledge and requiring individual school boards have a policy on the matter.
“It was my understanding that, regardless of what the law had said, the practice in our schools was to recite the pledge,” said Steve Sizemore, chairman of the school board. “Luckily, someone brought to our attention that this was not being done, and we rectified the situation within a day.”...[/quote]
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