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Burgum pushes for law ensuring North Dakota students, elected officials can recite Pledge of Allegiance

The move comes in the wake of a 7-2 decision by the Fargo School Board last week to rescind an earlier decision requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited at the start of each board meeting.

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The administration building for Fargo Public Schools in south Fargo in June of 2022.
David Olson / The Forum
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BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday, Aug. 15, announced plans to help craft legislation that will ensure students in public schools, as well as elected officials across the state, will be given the "opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and express support for the American ideals upon which our country was founded."

Burgum said in a statement released Monday afternoon his administration is working on a framework for legislation to guarantee the opportunity exists to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, as other states have done.

"We look forward to working with lawmakers to bring a proposal to the 68th Legislative Assembly in January," Burgum said.

Fargo School Board member Seth Holden, left, declines to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard at the Tuesday, April 12, 2022, meeting. The board will no longer recite the verse after it rescinded the motion on Tuesday, Aug. 9, voting in favor of removing it.Michael Vosburg/The Forum
Fargo School Board member Seth Holden, left, declines to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance at an April 12, 2022, meeting of the board. The board had earlier decided the pledge could be recited at the start of meetings. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the board rescinded that earlier decision, meaning board members will no longer be given the opportunity to recite the pledge at the start of meetings.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

While the statement does not overtly lay out Burgum's reasons for taking such action, the move comes in the wake of a 7-2 decision by the Fargo School Board last week to rescind a decision the board made earlier this year requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited at the start of each board meeting.

Last week's school board vote received widespread attention, both in the United States and abroad .

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North Dakota state Sen. Scott Meyer, Grand Forks, and state Reps. Pat Heinert, Bismarck, and Todd Porter, Mandan, all Republicans, have agreed to collaborate with Burgum's office to craft the legislation.

"As North Dakotans and Americans, we believe strongly in the value of this traditional and powerful affirmation that we are one nation, united under one flag, with liberty and justice for all, aspiring toward a more perfect union and acknowledging that such noble work never ends," Burgum said in announcing the planned legislation.

Meyer called the Pledge of Allegiance "one of the strongest and most unifying statements that we have as Americans," adding that in the current political environment "it is a guiding light."

Heinert said reciting the pledge is important prior to public meetings, as public officials "are elected and are there to serve the people."

A phone message left with Tracie Newman, president of the Fargo School Board, was not immediately returned Monday evening.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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