Pledge of Allegiance may become mandatory in Nebraska schools

2012-08-10T14:00:00Z 2012-08-10T18:57:05Z Pledge of Allegiance may become mandatory in Nebraska schoolsMARGARET REIST Lincoln Journal Star Sioux City Journal
August 10, 2012 2:00 pm  • 

LINCOLN | Dust off the flags, Nebraska teachers: The Pledge of Allegiance will likely become a required part of the school day sometime this school year.

The Nebraska Board of Education on Friday unanimously approved a change to Rule 10, which governs all schools and districts. Districts must comply with Rule 10 to be accredited by the state and receive state funds.

Board President Jim Scheer acknowledged opponents who argue that it should be left a local decision, but said the issue is important enough to be required by the state, such as graduation requirements and academic standards.

“I understand no district likes to be told what to do,” he said. “But I do think the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis falls within that purview.”

Both state board candidates -- Bob Van Valkenburg and Lillie Larsen -- have endorsed the rule change.

Educators have said many classes already say the pledge daily. The rule change will require all students in kindergarten through 12th grade recite the pledge daily in the presence of a flag, though students can choose to stand or sit silently as long as they respect those who wish to participate.

Van Valkenburg suggested an amendment on Friday that would require flags be in every classroom and that all students stand during the recitation even if they choose not to say the pledge. He also wanted those who choose not to recite the pledge write a 50-word essay on what it means to be an American.

Richard Zierke, a Lincoln businessman who first suggested passing a law requiring recitation of the pledge, thanked the board before the vote and said he liked Van Valkenburg’s suggestion that all students be required to stand.

Board member Bob Evnen said the rule -- including the provision that allows students to sit out and not recite the pledge -- was crafted to comply with the U.S. Constitution.

Zierke, an ex-Marine, was doing research one day when he learned that Nebraska and six other states, the District of Columbia and two territories do not have a law that addresses the pledge. He went to state Sen. Tony Fulton, who introduced legislation, which died in committee. State education board Vice President Mark Quandahl suggested the rule change.

The attorney general’s office and the governor must still approve the change, but assuming they give their nod of approval, the requirement should become effective sometime this school year.

In other action Friday, the state board approved a system that will use statewide reading, math, science and writing scores, along with the improvement in those scores and individual student performance to gauge how well schools and districts are doing. High school graduation rates also will be considered.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate subscription button gif

Business Search

Latest Offers

View More

Featured Businesses

View More

Community Calendar

Calendar Sponsor

Top Jobs

Full-time HR Director

Dietary Aide/Cook

Night Shift Printing

Chair Rental Available

Human Resource Manager


Now Hiring



Breakfast Cook

Midwest CDL Drivers FT or PT

Van Drivers

Experienced Diesel Technician


Now Hiring

CNA/CMA & Cook

Direct Support Professionals

Office Cleaner Wanted

PT Teller

Now Hiring


Warehouse Material Handler

Part Time RN


Certified Teacher

Insurance Inspector

Now Hiring

Clinical Director

Purchasing Manager

Truck Driver

Now Hiring


Assistant Controller - Construction

Dental Assistant Opportunity



Poll: What is your grilling fuel preference?

View Results