The constant tug-of-war over the fragile limit of power is a game that has been played since the beginning of this country. And now the Nebraska Board of Education has landed in hot water.
Recently the Nebraska Board of Education unanimously voted to require all Nebraska public schools to set aside time each day for the Pledge of Allegiance. It will be voluntary for students and teachers but asks that those who do not participate must sit or stand quietly to respect those who participate. The rule also states that failure to comply could cause schools to lose their accreditation.
Naturally, there are opponents to this rule. According to an article in Omaha World Herald, the ACLU finds this rule disappointing because it “could give school officials the wrong impression they can ‘bully’ students and teachers to participate in the pledge against their consciences or religious beliefs.”
The article continues to say the the Nebraska ACLU chapter receives one to two complaints a year about the Pledge but after phone calls to the schools the issue is resolved. Recently an Omaha attorney, Kevin Stanosheck has petitioned a judge to strike down the rule saying that the Nebraska Board of Education lacks the authority to impose it on schools.
The problem here isn’t the mandate for the Pledge itself and seeing as the ACLU receives only one to two complaints a year about it, that is unlikely to change. The rule specifically states that participating in saying the Pledge is mandatory.
The true reason as to why this ruling is troubling and why Stanosheck has a valid reason to challenge the rule is that the Nebraska Board of Education may have overstepped their power by creating such a harsh punishment for schools that refuse to comply.
There is nothing wrong with requiring schools to allot time for the Pledge of Allegiance. There is also nothing wrong with opting out of saying the Pledge. But when the Nebraska legislature fails to pass a law requiring schools to allow time for the Pledge of Allegiance, it should not be so easy for the Nebraska Board of Education.