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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bill would require Old Glory’s display

    Flags in the classroom

    PHOENIX – The UA may have to dig deep into its budget or ask for thousands of dollars in donations to put an American flag in every classroom if a bill being considered by the House is passed.

    The author of the bill, Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) said he wrote the bill after President Peter Likins refused a student’s request to put flags in the classrooms.

    During a hearing before the House Committee on Universities, Community Colleges and Technology, Pearce said the refusal by Likins was unacceptable and it prompted him to write HB 2583.The bill would require all

    It’s not like we can just put them up and forget about them. Whatever we leave in a classroom (at night) may not be there in the morning.– Peter Likins, UA president

    K-12 public schools, community colleges and state universities to put a flag no smaller than two feet by three feet in each classroom although private, parochial and home schools are exempt from the proposed law.

    Under current state or federal laws, Arizona universities are not required to display the flag in their classrooms.

    “”We live in a time, I think, we need to recognize our heritage,” Pearce said. “”We need to recognize how lucky we are in this nation.””

    Pearce said his bill was designed to promote national pride in students attending public schools.

    “”These are (publicly) funded schools for our (publicly) funded children,” Pearce said. “”It’s appropriate that we instill patriotism at our public institutions.”

    Likins said it is “”not practical”” to put flags in several hundred unattended, unlocked classrooms at the UA and expect them to stay in good condition without proper supervision.

    “”It’s not like we can just put them up and forget about them,”” he said. “”Whatever we leave in a classroom (at night) may not be there in the morning.””

    Likins said if the law is enacted, UA officials will have to check on each flag in every classroom every day. He said the problem becomes even more complicated during times designated as days of mourning, suggesting the UA would have to adjust hundreds of flags to have them fly at half-staff and perform the opposite task again a few days later after the observance ended.

    Likins also objected to the imposed costs of the program, saying the flags’ initial cost would be small compared to the cost of maintaining the flags. He suggested replacing damaged or stolen flags, monitoring rooms and maintaining them during holidays would be “”vastly greater”” than installing them.

    “”We would have obligations to keep that flag maintained, make sure they stay there,”” Likins said.

    Pearce, the chairman of House Appropriations Committee, said the cost of the flags would be “”a pittance””, estimating the cost between $5 and $10 per flag. He said Republican-dominated legislature had agreed to give schools a “”generous”” amount this year to Arizona public schools. Coupled with donations, he said, the cost would be minimal for the schools.

    Tyler Mott, the former UA student who originally asked for flags to be put into classrooms, said he was pleased to see the legislation pass 5-2 through the committee. He said Likins was uncooperative several years ago when he asked for flags, telling him the cost to the university was prohibitive.

    According to Mott, Likins told him, “”Unless you have some angel who is willing to pay for this idea, it has little chance of being realized. I simply must spend my time on more realistic concerns.””

    After being rejected by Likins, Mott launched a Web site called “”operation angel”” to help build community support to bring the flags into classrooms. After an Arizona Board of Regents meeting, Mott said he found out Pearce was writing legislation.

    He said now that Pearce has written legislation to bring flags into classrooms, it will be easy to attract local and corporate donations.

    During the hearing, committee member Rep. David Bradley (D-Tucson) said using flags and saying the Pledge of Allegiance are disingenuous attempts to promote national pride.

    “”It has the stench of another era,”” Bradley said, referring to “”programmed loyalty” policies of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

    Rep. Stephen Tully, the majority leader in the House and member of the committee, argued with Bradley, saying he remembered a time in his youth when he said the Pledge of Allegiance every day.

    Tully remarked that he said the Pledge of Allegiance with his class every day “”and no one became a Nazi or a fascist or a communist.””

    The bill will be heard next by Pearce’s House Appropriations Committee.

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