Bill aims to put flags, Pledge back in Oregon classrooms

PORTLAND, Ore. - Six Republican members of the Oregon House have introduced a bill that would put an American flag in every public classroom and give students an opportunity to read or recite the Pledge of Allegiance each school day.

Currently, Oregon public schools are only required to have an American and Oregon flag near the school building. Schools are also required to give students a chance to salute the flag, but only once a week.

But House Bill 3014, which was introduced Thursday, would change that if passed. Six of the 26 Republicans in the Oregon House are sponsoring the bill.

The bill would mandate US and Oregon flags "of a suitable size" in classrooms and "provide a time at least once daily during school hours for an employee or a student of the school to lead students in the salute of the United State flag by reciting: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1943, students cannot be legally compelled to say the Pledge or stand while it is being read or recited.

KATU News took to the street to get feedback on the bill - and to see who knew the Pledge by heart.

"As long as they explain to the kids what they're saying I think it'd be a great thing," one person said.

"It shows respect for your country and people that came before you," another man said.

Controversy still surrounds two key words in the Pledge: "under God."

"I don't think you should make that mandatory," one man said. "That was added, it was not part of the original pledge."

The words "under God" were added to the Pledge in 1954 during the start of the Cold War against communism.

"Don't most people generally believe in God?" another man asked. "I mean, I don't know, is that a big deal?"

"I guess I just don't believe in forcing my beliefs on someone else," another person said. But one man who said he was an atheist said he didn't mind keeping the words "under God" in the Pledge.

Many people who talked to KATU News struggled to recite the complete Pledge of Allegiance.

There are 34 Democrats in the House but so far, it is unclear exactly how much support the bill has.