Last month, we reported on new legislation that requires schools to: (1) erect and maintain U.S. flags on school premises; (2) provide students with a daily opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; and (3) display flags in classrooms or instructional areas where the Pledge is recited. However, the article incorrectly reported the effective date of Public Act 321 of 2012, which is part of the new legislation.
As originally reported, Public Act 320 of 2012, which amended section 1347 of the Revised School Code, and which requires that flags be erected on school premises and displayed in classrooms, will become effective 91 days after the adjournment of the 2012 legislative session. Public Act 321, however, which added section 1347a to the School Code, took effect on October 5, 2012. Section 1347a requires that: (1) schools not compel a student, against the student’s wishes, to recite the Pledge; (2) schools not penalize students for refusing to recite the Pledge; (3) school officials ensure that students are not bullied for refusing to recite the Pledge; and (4) beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, schools provide students with an opportunity to recite the Pledge each school day.
Last month’s article also noted that schools must ensure that a U.S. flag is displayed in each classroom or other instructional site. The new legislation actually only requires that the flag be displayed in each classroom or instructional site in which pupils recite the Pledge. The legislation does not require that a flag be displayed in a classroom or instructional site if the Pledge is not recited in that classroom or instructional site.
Finally, while much of the legislation contains new requirements, schools were required to display a U.S. flag on their premises before this new legislation was enacted.
We apologize for any confusion the previous article may have caused.