A bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin would require schools to hold a weekly pledge of allegiance.
State Rep. John Bennett, the House author of Senate Bill 1143, said the pledge serves as a reminder to young people that patriotism honors those who have fought and sacrificed on behalf of the country.
“I believe the bill is very important for many reasons,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “One is as a constant reminder to our youth that the flag is not just some material with red, white and blue colors. It represents all those who have fought and in some cases died for the country. Our flag doesn’t move because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine who died protecting it. The pledge gives us the chance to honor those who sacrificed for the greatest nation on earth.”
Bennett said the bill does allow students to opt out of participating in the pledge.
“I am a supporter of our First Amendment rights,” Bennett said. “While I think schools should hold a pledge recitation, I do not believe students should participate against their will. If they feel that strongly, they should not have to join in.”