(KCPW News) A bill that requires individual classrooms in Utah to recite the pledge of allegiance every school day got unanimous support in the Senate this morning. Under SB 223, sponsored by Republican Senator Aaron Osmond, Kindergarten through 12th grade public school classrooms must recite the pledge once at the beginning of each day, led by a student. Osmond says while visiting schools across the state, he observed a lack of engagement in the pledge among students, teachers and staff, and an apparent lack of understanding of what it means.
“I feel that we need to get back to the basics.” Osmond says. “Back to the way that it was at a time in our country when we valued loyalty to God and country and where we had an opportunity to express that loyalty to our country every morning as participating in a pledge of allegiance.”
Osmond acknowledges he’s received mixed reviews from constituents who say it’s inappropriate for the state to meddle in the issue. But he notes students will still have the opportunity to opt out of the pledge with a note from a parent or guardian.
Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero voted in favor of the bill with some apprehension.
“By making this compulsory for every class, for every student, when it is already compulsory in our elementary education and now for junior high and high school, I worry that it will actually lessen the respect and the dedication and the attention to the pledge that we give it now in their civic years of public elementary.” Romero says.
Romero called on the public to weigh in on the bill before a final vote is taken in the Senate later this week.