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Arizona bill would ask for loyalty oath at graduation

PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would give Arizona high school seniors the option to recite a loyalty oath before they graduate.

Originally, House Bill 2467 would have made the oath a prerequisite for graduation from any public high school in the state. The Arizona Capitol Times reported the change Tuesday.

“To me it’s not a Republican bill, it’s not a Democrat bill, it’s an American bill,” said Rep. Steve Smith of Maricopa, one of the bill’s sponsors. “People feel that our high school kids that will be adults should understand their role as an American citizen.”

The oath, which would be pledged to the school principal, reads:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God.”

If passed, HB 2467 would take effect starting in the 2013-14 school year.