Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A family has sued a New Jersey school district and its superintendent in a bid to remove the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance that students recite each day.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) filed the lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District on behalf of the family before the S uperior Court in Monmouth County, the group said on Monday.
The suit was filed after a complaint letter sent to the school on Feb. 19 was rejected and the school responded that it will not change the practice of making student recite the pledge.
Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” said David Niose, attorney for the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”
AHA also argued that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates Article 1 of the New Jersey Constitution.
The school’s attorney argued that the district is simply following a state law that requires pupils to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily.
“All we are doing is abiding by requirements of state law, we and approximately 590 other school districts in the state,” said the attorney, David Rubin, according to USA Today. “If the group who’s brought this lawsuit questions the wisdom of that policy or the legality of it, we believe their arguments are much better directed to the state Legislature who’s imposed this requirement on us, rather than suing an individual school district on this matter.”