Massachusetts’ highest court has upheld a state law that requires schools to lead daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, and it ruled that the inclusion of “under God” in the pledge does not violate the state equal-protection rights of atheist and humanist students.
The Supreme Judicial Court this month ruled 7-0 in the case brought against the Acton-Boxborough school district. A family identified only as Doe argued that schools conduct a patriotic exercise that “exalts and validates” one religious view while marginalizing their “religious views” on atheism and humanism, in violation of the state constitution.
The state high court said inclusion of the words “under God” did not turn the pledge into a religious exercise nor did there appear to be any evidence that the Doe children had been punished, criticized, ostracized, or bullied for refusing to recite those words during the daily pledge exercise.
A version of this article appeared in the May 21, 2014 edition of Education Week as Mass. High Court Upholds Pledge of Allegiance