Monday, June 12, 2006

Flagging Schools

Arizona is about to pass a law regulating the size of U.S. flags that must be displayed in that state's public school classrooms:
A proposed law that would help to ensure an American flag flies in Arizona public schools classrooms from kindergarten through college levels received a final nod in the state Senate on Thursday. Senators voted to put flags in legislative hearing rooms, too.

"We can't force schools to do it when we don't do it," said Sen. Toni Hellon, R-Tucson.

The House, which passed the bill in March, will now consider the Senate's changes.

House Bill 2583 was the brainchild of Tucson resident Tyler Mott, who noticed the lack of flags in college classrooms when he was a student at the University of Arizona.

Mott approached UA officials about seeking flag donations, but his idea was rejected.

UA President Peter Likins called it a "noble idea" and noted that a large flag already flies on campus. Likins worried that classroom flags could not be properly monitored.

Mott did not take no for an answer and went on to garner overwhelming support from state lawmakers in the bill sponsored by Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa.

"The vote today was a great victory for patriotism in Arizona," Mott said.

House Bill 2583 requires a 2 feet by 3 feet American flag in Arizona kindergarten through college classrooms and in state legislative hearing rooms. The flag must be made in the U.S. and in place by Independence Day 2007.

The flags won't be required in state legislators' offices. Senate Republicans vetoed that Democratic idea. Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, said the work of lawmakers is done in hearing rooms and not in offices, much like the work of teachers is done in classrooms.

The bill also contains no exemptions for classroom flags that are too small or made in a foreign country. "Nobody's going in with a ruler," Pearce said.
The cost for the new "legally compliant" flags must be borne by the schools themselves; the state legislature isn't allocating any additional funding for its Flag Mandate.

Interestingly, the legislator who proposed the law
doesn't fly any type of flag outside his own home.

Maybe someone in Arizona will pass a law about that.
See our latest education-related entries right here.