Legislation

ACLU objects to Nebraska school district asking teachers to sign pro-America pledge

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

A Nebraska school district is facing complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union for following a state law requiring teachers to sign a pro-America pledge. 

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Hastings Public Schools, in southern Nebraska, has only recently started following the 1951, Cold War-era law. 

Superintendent Craig Kautz told the newspaper he started asking teachers to sign the pledge this year, following legal advice. 

"So, for the first time in my working career we basically asked our staff to do that -- our teaching staff -- the minimum required by statute," he said. 

Those signing it effectively pledge that they believe in the U.S. government and will teach "love and devotion" for the country. 

But Amy Miller, with the ACLU of Nebraska, reportedly argued that under Supreme Court rulings, public employees cannot be required to sign these pledges, calling them unconstitutional. 

"You need to know that the statute is a dead letter law which has been clearly overruled by the highest court in the land. Attempting to enforce the state statue is unconstitutional and will expose the school district to liability to a civil rights lawsuit," the ACLU wrote in a letter to the school district, the Journal Star reports

The ACLU wants the district to make clear within seven days teachers don't have to sign the pledge. 

Kautz, while defending the pledge request, clarified that there is technically no penalty for not signing. 

Other major public school systems in Nebraska do not ask teachers to sign the document.