A new law goes into effect in Mississippi on Monday that will make it a daily requirement for school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The timing of that law is somewhat ironic in light of the court ruling that declared the pledge unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God." The California ruling has no immediate impact in Mississippi but could if the issue makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court and is upheld.
Mississippi's pledge law requires has several parts:
- It requires a flag to be displayed outside every school building and in every classroom.
- Students must learn flag etiquette and patriotic exercises like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
State lawmakers did put a provision in the law for students who may not want to say the pledge. However, Gulfport School Superintendent Carlos Hicks said that's easier said than done.
"We can do the best we can in making sure the principals and teachers understand that it is voluntary," Hicks said. "But to have an entire class do something and have a 5-year-old or a 6-year-old say 'I don't want to do that and go stand in the hall while its being done, a lot of 5 and 6 year olds may not wish to participate but feel like they have to or don't have the courage to say I'm not going to do that."