State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) said he wants young students across Alabama to be taught the greatness of America, and he believes playing the national anthem in schools should be a part of that goal.
Allen pre-filed SB2 this year, which would require all public schools to broadcast the first stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at least once a week.
The bill would put forward a constitutional amendment on the issue that would have to be approved by Alabama voters.
The senator discussed his bill Thursday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”
“The pledge of allegiance is said every single day in the public schools in Alabama, but … the only time our students hear the national anthem is on a Thursday or Friday night football game and rarely in our gym settings at the basketball games,” Allen said. “What we want to do is encourage our leaders in Alabama to play this national anthem at least once a week in our public schools.”
Allen thinks this will help instill patriotism in young Alabamians.
“Sometimes we’re not focusing and looking at how blessed that we have been as individuals to live in a great country and to be a great patriot and to defend this country and defend the Constitution,” he said. “And I just want to make sure that our young people, our children K-12 in this great state, have the opportunity to hear the national anthem at least once a week and to learn a little bit more about it and to love the country and to be a true patriot and to understand that we as American citizens have been blessed to live in this great land.”
He also said the history of the national anthem teaches students about the sacrifice many have made to secure freedom in America.
“[T]hey need to be able to understand that they have been giving a great gift to be an American,” he said. “And we want to make sure that they learn some things that are important to defend this country. And to do that you’ve got to instill and know and understand that there have been some great prices that have been paid for this country, men and women who gave their lives. And we must stand firm and know that this country means something.”
Allen said he’s optimistic the bill will make it through the next session.
“There have been some issues in the last three years that have trumped a lot of different pieces of legislation,” he said. “I feel that this may be the year that we move this, and I’m going to give every citizen in this state the opportunity to vote on this issue.”