116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Almost 400 U.S. flags are being donated by the Marion American Legion Post 298 to Linn-Mar and Marion Independent schools.
The flags will help the districts stay in compliance with a new state law, House File 847, that requires every K-12 school to administer the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis and show the U.S. flag while the pledge is recited.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing students to recite the pledge is a violation of the First Amendment, so students and parents could opt out.
“It’s awesome” that the Marion American Legion wanted to donate hundreds of flags to the school districts, Linn-Mar associate Superintendent Nathan Wear said.
“We have a community group that’s willing to step in and help support us in education, and that’s certainly appreciated,” he said.
The flags were a “significant investment” for the Marion American Legion, Wear said.
Dean Abramczak, Marion American Legion commander, estimates the flags cost almost $4,000.
“Children and youth are our future,” he said. “I wanted us to do more for the community.”
Before the new state law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited, Wear said it was mostly done only in elementary schools.
Students in middle and high schools, where classes rotate throughout the day, haven’t always been able to prioritize saying the pledge.
“Supporting our country is our priority for everything we do,” Wear said. “I wish we had more local control in decisions about how and when and what things happen in the walls of our schools.”
While both school districts already had flags in most of their elementary school classrooms, more were needed for middle and high schools.
Until the districts were able to secure flags, they were projecting the image of the flag on a screen for students the first few weeks of school.
Marion Independent Superintendent Janelle Brouwer said with the new law, the pledge will be said over the intercom, so all students can participate at the same time.
Facilities and maintenance staff in both districts are being tasked with putting the flags in each classroom.
Gerry Wegmann, executive board member of the Marion American Legion Post, said the post thought it was an important way to support their local school districts.
Two of the four pillars the American Legion was founded on are Americanism and children and youth.
Last month, the Marion American Legion Post presented the flags to Marion Independent before a football game.
“As our schools daily participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, the flags donated by Marion Post 298 will play a valuable role in the practice,” it was read at the game.
Flags will be presented to the Linn-Mar Community School District later this month.
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