Schools That Don’t Display the Flag and Constitution Could Face Fines | Currents Feature

Arizona schools could be fined up to $1,000 if they don’t display the United States flag, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and allow students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

“This is a (law) I’m now adding teeth to,” Sen. Wendy Rogers, the bill’s sponsor, told the Senate Education Committee Tuesday afternoon about Senate Bill 1036.

Arizona state law already mandates that public schools display the flag, constitution and bill of rights in classes 7 through 12. The law also requires that schools set aside a time to recite the pledge.

On Tuesday, Senate Education Committee Chairman Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, put forward an amendment to the bill that added a complaint process not present in the original bill. His amendment allows for “any person” to file a complaint with the Arizona Department of Education for not displaying the items or allowing reciting the pledge.

The school district would be notified of the complaint made against the school and have 30 days to correct the issue. If it is not resolved, the Arizona Department of Education is to notify the attorney general, who would impose and collect fines. 

Rogers said her bill is aimed not only at making sure schools are complying with the law, but also to prevent teachers from putting up “rainbow flags.” Rogers cited an incident in which a California teacher boasted about removing the American flag and having students cite the pledge to a gay pride flag instead. The teacher was later fired.

However, Rogers’ legislation doesn’t actually ban gay pride flags.

The pride flag is becoming a cultural sticking point in classrooms. Some teachers across the nation have hung them in their classroom, but have then been asked to remove them. In one viral video in California, two students stole a teacher’s gay pride flag and defecated on it. 

“It has the underlying implication that this is not being done, when it already is,” Sen. Christine Marsh, D-Phoenix, said of the bill, saying that she has never seen a classroom without a flag, constitution and bill of rights. She added that the bill felt “redundant.”

The bill passed out of committee along party lines with support of Republicans. Its next step is consideration by the full Senate.

Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

This article originally appeared in Arizona Mirror, a non-profit agency. 

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