Michigan school children would be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance under a bill passed by the state Senate today.
Students can opt out if they, their parent or legal guardians object.
State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood voted against the bill. He believes patriotism doesn’t come from a mandate.
"One of the things I said is that I love my country, not because I say the pledge, but I say the pledge because I love my country," Hopgood says.
Hopgood unsuccessfully introduced an amendment to protect students who decline to recite the pledge from retaliation by school employees.
The bill also requires a flag to be displayed in each K-12 classroom in Michigan’s public schools. It does not provide funding to buy the flags.
The measure is supported by the state department of education; it now moves on to the House.