SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would require all Utah public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each school day.
SB223, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, passed 26-0 on the bill's second reading.
Osmond said his hope is to restore students' respect for the flag and country.
"I feel like we need to get back to basics."
The pledge is now recited in public elementary schools but Osmond has observed
apathy toward the practice.
"As I went from school to school, there was very little, if any engagement, especially in Title I schools," he said.
Although she voted for the bill, Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake, remarked that students should be reminded of how they gained their freedoms. "The lack of engagement, I think, happens equally in Title I schools as other schools," she said.
Other senators said the bill raises some concerns because there needs to be consideration of people who do participate in the pledge due to religious or personal reasons.
Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, said making the pledge compulsory in junior and senior high schools may "lessen respect and dedication to the pledge."
"If the public is going to want us to support this, I want to hear from them."