The State Senate has approved a measure to better educate students about the price of freedom and the sacrifices made by the nation’s military men and women. Senate Bill 17, by Sen. Don Barrington and Rep. Ann Coody, would create “Celebrate Freedom Week,” which would take place during the week of Veteran's Day.
“This measure simply designates the week of November 11 as Celebrate Freedom Week where civic classes go back and they study how this nation was founded and the sacrifices that our people went through,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “This is our history and I think it is so important that our youth know and understand why they have the freedoms they do. They need to understand that freedom is not free so that they appreciate the sacrifices that were and are being made today.”
The legislation was originally introduced in 2006 as House Bill 2774. After passing unanimously in the House, the measure died in the Senate after never receiving a committee hearing due to time restraints.
The bill would require the State Board of Education to adopt rules by December 31, 2007 requiring all public school districts to include appropriate instruction concerning the intent, meaning and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in their historical contexts. The instruction would be included as part of a social studies class and would take place during "Celebrate Freedom Week" or another full school week determined by the Board.
“Our students need to truly comprehend what it means to be American citizens and that requires a deep understanding of our Constitution and other historic documents,” said Barrington.
SB 17 would also require that all students grade 3-12 recite the portion of the preamble of the Declaration outlining the views of the nation’s fore fathers on the innate freedoms of men and women. Exemption from the recitation would be possible for those kids whose parents submit a written request that their child be excused from participating, for those students who have conscientious objections to it, or for children of representatives of foreign governments to whom the U.S. government extends diplomatic immunity.
The measure now moves to the House for consideration.