It has been 10 years since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled public school students in the Bay State can pledge allegiance to the flag, and the pledge can legally include the words "under God."

The SJC ruled back in May 2014 that the daily recitation of the pledge of allegiance, including "under God," in public schools does not violate the Massachusetts Constitution or discriminate against non-believers.

WCVB-TV Channel 5 reported at the time, "At issue was whether the pledge and its reference to 'one nation under God' violated the equal rights amendment in the state's constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of creed."

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An atheist family from Acton filed suit in 2010 claiming the daily recitation of the pledge violated the constitutional rights of their children. A lower court ruled against the family, who then appealed the decision.

Channel 5 reported the SJC determined that "Although the words 'under God' undeniably have a religious tinge, the Pledge, notwithstanding its reference to God, is a fundamentally patriotic exercise, not a religious one."

Massachusetts Court Rules On 'Under God' In Pledge In Public Schools

As I reported in May 2023, "You may not be able to force students to participate in the Pledge, but it is recited each morning, at least in Massachusetts." Massachusetts General Laws. Part 1, Title Xll, Chapter 71, Section 69 requires it.

The law further states, "Each teacher at the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools shall lead the class in a group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag."

Furthermore, "A flag must be placed in each classroom in each school house."

New Bedford School Committeeman Chris Cotter told me, "The Pledge is a feature of our schools and as one who loves this country, I am very proud that this is still required."

New Bedford Mayor and School Committee Chairman Ex-Officio Jon Mitchell said, "The Pledge of Allegiance is a time-honored tradition that reminds us of all the benefits and obligations of citizenship, which is essential to the preservation of our nation."

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