JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate General Laws Committee was urged to restrict to English only a current law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in public schools every school day.
Since 2002, Missouri public schools have been required to recite the Pledge once a week. The measure passed earlier by the House would require a daily Pledge and restrict the language to English.
House approval of the measure was a near party-line vote of 117-44.
"I don't think that the Pledge of Allegiance is designed to be exclusive," said Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis County. She said that the students reciting the Pledge every day would become a less effective ritual and asked Roden to consider reciting it only on a weekly basis.
"The students coming to me from government class tell me this is something patriotic. We should be doing it daily," said the bill's sponsor -- Rep. Shane Roden, R-Jefferson County.
However, questioned how the bill would impact other schools partially financed by public funds, such as virtual schools.
Sarah Rossi, the Director of Advocacy and Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, voiced opposition bill.
"The reason we didn't oppose this bill is English only," said Rossi. "But students' constitutional rights don't stop at the school house door. If students say it in Spanish or Arabic or any other language does not disrupt the academic environment."
As is normal immediately after a bill hearing, the committee did not take an immediate vote.
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