Politics

Oregon House Approves Bill Requiring American Flag in All Classrooms

| by Emily Smith
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Oregon lawmakers are hoping to require all their schools to display an American flag in their classrooms — a move supporters say encourages patriotism.

The new bill also requires that charter schools participate in flag display and an option for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in a weekly reciting of it.

State law prohibits forcing students to recite the pledge.

In a 51-6 vote on Thursday, the House approved the Republican-backed bill and sent it to Gov. John Kitzhaber, which he is expected to sign.

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The original bill would have required students to perform the Pledge of Allegiance every day, though civil rights advocates said it would impose on students’ freedom of speech and ostracize students unable to say the pledge. The amendment was later removed.

The bill was prompted by now Rogue River High School senior Chandler Cort, who was disturbed by the lack of opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance. He said is intention was not political or religious but patriotic.

“This is a bill for Americans,” Cort said.

Bill sponsor Rep. Sal Esquivel said it would be an opportunity for teachers to educate students on the history of the pledge in civics courses.

“It is important to take time to remember what binds us together and to remember those who have given so much,” Rep. Jeff Reardon said, in support of the bill.

Sources: WatchDog, Oregon Live