Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Pledge controversy continues

The state Assembly is revisiting legislation that would require Wisconsin public schools to offer either the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem.

The state committee on education reform is meeting today to discuss new legislation that seeks to reverse penalties imposed by a bill that passed this fall.

The Pledge of Allegiance became controversial this October when members of the Madison School Board voted to prevent schools from offering the pledge or the national anthem daily.

The school board said the policy would have protected from pressure children who chose not to say the pledge for political or religious reasons.

The proposal passed but was overturned a week later, after the board received thousands of calls from across the country protesting the so-called ban.

State Rep. Sheryl Albers, R-Madison, said the bill is different from earlier legislation because it requires lyrics to accompany the musical score if the national anthem is played. It also would not impose penalties upon schools that would not comply.

“It takes out the penalty and clarifies that words have to be with the songs,” Albers said. “The main difference in the bill is because the legislation is from before the school board had a vote.”

Albers said reciting the pledge or the national anthem are voluntary actions and students who do not wish to participate should not be punished. He also said the pledge helps reinforce patriotism.

“You can listen to a tape over the radio, but without the words, it does not have as much meaning,” she said. “[Students should have] the opportunity to express patriotism if they choose.”

Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, said he believes the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem should be recited in schools but students should not be forced, if they have opposing beliefs.

“I wouldn’t force anyone to do anything but I think it should be recited in school,” Bies said. “You have to teach patriotism; it doesn?t come through osmosis.”

Bies said patriotism keeps the country strong and reciting the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance help maintain unity.

Albers said she would be surprised if any opposition to the legislation emerged, because it essentially eliminates penalties for not offering the pledge or national anthem.

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