North Dakota House advances bill to require schools, government boards to host Pledge of Allegiance

The bill comes after the Fargo School Board voted in August to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance — a move that was reversed after backlash from politicians and pundits.

Several people are seated along a long desk area with "Fargo Public Schools" on the wall behind them.
Fargo School Board President Tracie Newman invites board members to share any comments they have about whether the board should allow for reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, on Aug. 18, 2022.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

BISMARCK — The North Dakota House unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday, Jan. 31, that would require schools and governing bodies to give students and board members a chance to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

House Bill 1120, sponsored by Rep. Pat Heinert, R-Bismarck, would mandate school districts to allow the voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by students at the start of each school day. The proposal also requires public panels, including school boards, to allow members to say the pledge before meetings.

The bill comes after the Fargo School Board voted in August to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance — a move that sparked outcry from politicians and pundits. School board members received threatening messages before reinstating the recitation of the pledge about a week after the initial decision.

Heinert, who collaborated with Gov. Doug Burgum's office on the bill, previously said the Fargo controversy didn’t influence his decision to introduce the legislation.

Representatives on Tuesday also advanced House Bill 1172, which bars the governor from altering the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.


Bill sponsor Rep. Vicky Steiner, R-Dickinson, said the phrase "one nation under God" was added to the oath in the 1950s to recognize the nation's "Judeo-Christian roots."

Members of Congress reportedly added the words "under God" to the pledge in 1954 to highlight Americans' differences with the atheistic Soviet Union, according to the New York Times.

Both bills will head to the North Dakota Senate in March when the chambers exchange approved legislation.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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