(This page has not been updated since Aug. 2003)
|[Editor’s Note: The information on this page was drawn from an Aug. 2003 report by the Education Commission of the States and has not been updated to reflect changes since that time.]|
One criteria that US courts may consider in “under God” cases is whether or not students feel coerced by either their schools or peers into saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God.” Some state laws stipulate that students are permitted to opt out of saying the Pledge, usually with permission of their parent or guardian. Debate continues on whether peer pressure, even considering the students’ right to opt out, would constitute religious coercion.
Students are expected to speak the phrase “under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The consequences for omitting or amending this phrase are not legally determined and may vary depending upon the state or school board. According to an Aug. 2003 report by the Education Commission of the States, 43 states have laws regarding requirements for student recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools (as of Aug. 2003). (Seven states have no laws regarding requirements for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools: Iowa, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Vermont, and Wyoming.)
For more in-depth information see Specific State Regulations.
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1 School board or charter school board of directors may waive the requirement annually by majority vote.
Aug. 2003 Education Commission of the States