Which States Require the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools 2023?


Most states that mandate pledge participation provide specific options for students wishing to opt out; California, for instance, requires written notification from parents, while schools must inform students about their right to refuse participation in the pledge.

The Pledge of Allegiance was initially composed in 1892 as a way to foster unity and patriotism among citizens, with an updated version being implemented again in 1954 with “under God.”


The Pledge of Allegiance is an iconic symbol of patriotism in America, recited daily by millions of students and adults across schools nationwide. Some schools have experienced controversy due to protests from both students and parents against its inclusion of “under God”, which may violate the separation between church and state.

Most US states mandate public school pledge recitation, though some provide for exemptions based on parental notification and teacher penalties for failing to lead students in saying it.

Nebraska lacks a state statute mandating the pledge, yet its school board has made it compulsory. California, Kansas, Delaware, and Illinois also order it; however, their state officials delegate oversight of its recitation to individual districts.


Florida is among a select few states that mandate the pledge be recited in schools, with school districts having the ultimate say over who needs to participate or not. Other conditions, such as Texas and Pennsylvania, allow children to opt-out if written permission from parents/guardians has been received for them not saying the pledge. Opponents of the deposit argue it violates children’s rights by forcing students into conformity with patriotic narratives they might find foreign to themselves while alienating students who identify themselves as atheists with its insistence.

No student is obliged to recite the pledge; indeed, since 1943, when the Supreme Court decided in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that students cannot be forced into saluting or repeating it would violate their First Amendment rights, no student is forced to participate.


Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge in 1892 as an effort to promote patriotism and unity among citizens. But its religious content, especially the phrase “under God,” has caused some to object. Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses have filed lawsuits against schools requiring students to recite it.

Regardless of these allegations, most states still require students and teachers to recite the pledge in public schools. Some states offer opt-out options, while most prohibit punishing anyone who refuses to repeat it.

Some states, like Texas and Florida, require stricter exemption policies that require parents to provide written notification before students can opt out of reciting the pledge, creating additional barriers for some minority group students. Opponents of the deposit say it violates students’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to repeat it against their will and that its use of “under God” promotes monotheism, which violates the separation of church and state.


Francis Bellamy created the pledge as a means of encouraging national unity and patriotism in 1892. At first, it did not contain references to God, but these were later added in 1954 in response to religious sentiments in society at large. Many students and parents have found this controversial; some contend it violates the separation of church and state, while others feel it encourages specific political agendas.

Some states do not mandate the recitation of the pledge, and many allow students to opt out if desired; others entrust this decision solely to individual school districts.

At times, students who refused to recite the pledge have been punished or even expelled; however, federal courts have held that such measures violate a student’s First Amendment rights and require they repeat it regardless. Students can protest this pledge by sitting down, taking off headwear, or raising fists, so long as this action does not prevent other students from participating.

New Jersey

New Jersey students aren’t forced to pledge, unlike students in some other states that mandate it; rather they may show respect for the flag by standing at attention and taking off headwear as they stand before standing to watch for the pledge. Schools in the state also inform individuals of their right not to participate.

In 2014, a family with atheist beliefs challenged the pledge in court against Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District on the grounds that its phrase “under God” violates their children’s First Amendment rights. Unfortunately, however, the judge dismissed this challenge.

Since 1943, the Supreme Court has upheld that forcing students to recite the pledge is unconstitutional. Recently, however, several schools have decided not to observe it altogether, and while state laws still require its recitation by students and families. When forced recitation occurs in such instances, students often sit or raise their hands as visible protests; those not participating face potential disciplinary measures, but most states allow individuals who wish not to partake to opt out through written notification of their school.

North Dakota

The Pledge of Allegiance is a daily tradition designed to instill in students a sense of patriotism and national pride while serving as a daily reminder of our nation’s values and principles, such as liberty and justice for all. Furthermore, supporters believe it promotes unity and solidarity among students.

However, in recent years, the Pledge of Allegiance has become a controversial issue over concerns over its religious nature and use in schools. Many states allow students and teachers to opt out of it for personal or spiritual reasons, while some states even require parental approval before opting out.

Even so, most schools in the United States still require the pledge of allegiance in classrooms despite these concerns. Students who do not want to say the promise has several visible ways they can express their disagreement: standing with arms down or raising them can be seen as a protest. Sitting down or kneeling are also good strategies.


The Pledge of Allegiance has long been an ingrained tradition in US schools, serving as a symbolic representation of patriotism and national unity. First written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, its purpose is to inspire national solidarity and devotion across backgrounds and beliefs – yet its practice can sometimes prove contentious; some students opt out altogether.

Though most states mandate daily pledge recitation at schools, students and staff can usually choose whether or not to say it. Indeed, in 1943, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for schools to force anyone into saluting or repeating it; nevertheless, some schools attempt to force students into standing, and many have even suspended or reduced grades for refusing to say the pledge.

Although some schools still ostracize students who refuse to pledge allegiance, most have found ways to accommodate for these differences. In 2014, an atheist family and the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey school district for forcing its students to say the pledge, alleging it violated their First Amendment rights; however, the Supreme Court found this particular case did not meet legal criteria to file such litigation.


Students often take great pride in reciting the pledge in front of an American flag at school as part of their educational experience. Proponents of the deposit believe it promotes civic engagement by teaching children about their nation’s history and democratic principles while serving as a daily reminder of Americans who have made sacrifices to secure liberty and justice for all.

Francis Bellamy first composed this pledge as a way of inspiring patriotism and unifying citizens in 1892. To combat the rise of communism, “under God” was added in 1954 as part of its text. Through time, various groups have challenged its validity – for instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses have complained that it violates their religious beliefs.

However, in 1943 the Supreme Court determined that schools may not compel students to recite or salute the flag during school pledges or assemblies. Therefore students can visibly protest by sitting down, raising their hands, or kneeling as long as their actions do not disrupt others during these activities.