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Lawmaker wants Pledge of Allegiance mandated in Arizona classrooms

(Getty Images Photo/Win McNamee)

PHOENIX — An Arizona state representative wants to mandate that all public school students say the Pledge of Allegiance every day.

HB 2017, sponsored by Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), would require parental permission to opt out.

But the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona says the law would violate the constitution.

“You know, the Supreme Court made it clear decades ago that forcing students to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional,” ACLU spokeswoman Marcella Taracena told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

She pointed to the Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette in 1943 and said the First Amendment protects students from punishment for not reciting the pledge.

“Requiring them to seek parent approval takes away that individual right,” Taracena said.

“What if the student has conflicting views with the parent? What if the student is estranged? Or, what if they have opposing political views? This can really chill their speech because it’s requiring kids to seek that approval.”

The bill would also require public school students to engage in at least one minute of “quiet reflection and moral reasoning” each day unless excused by a parent.

Fillmore also filed HB 2005, which would end dating abuse education in Arizona schools.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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