Carman-Ainsworth ordering flags for all classrooms

FLINT TWP. — Carman-Ainsworth school administrators are working to comply with new state laws requiring the American flag be displayed in classrooms and that students be given the opportunity daily to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public Act 320 requires that “for each public school building it operates, the board of a school district shall purchase or possess a United States flag of a size of not less than 4 feet 2 inches by 8 feet, flag staff and the necessary appliances for displaying the flag.”

A companion piece — P.A. 321 — also establishes students will recite the pledge allegiance at school each day, but it is not mandatory.

Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, P.A. 321 directs the school board to “ensure that an opportunity to recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States is offered each school day.” But it states that students will not be compelled to do so against their wishes or that of their parents or guardians.

Both pieces of legislation were approved by Gov. Rick Snyder and filed with the Secretary of State on Oct. 5.

P.A. 321 is effective immediately and P.A. 320 becomes effective on the 91st day (three months) after the state legislature adjourns the 2012 regular session.

Russ Parks, C-A assistant superintendent, said no timeline has been set for installation of the flags. He said a tally found that about 200 small flags are needed. They are checking with the state to find out who pays for the flags, he said.

Opponents of P.A. 320 s have argued that it places an unnecessary financial burden on already cash-limited school districts.

The Act states that the large flag be placed in a conspicuous area on school grounds and be displayed at all times during school hours, except in inclement weather. Additionally the school is required to display smaller flags in each classroom or other instructional site where students recite the pledge.

P.A. 321 contains language aimed at protecting the rights of students who opt out of reciting the pledge to the flag. It charges school administrators with ensuring students who do not participate will not be subject to penalties or bullying.

According to the House Fiscal Agency, Michigan is joining 43 other states that require the recitation of the pledge in schools.

It already is recited at the start of all CA school board meetings.

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