Proposal on national anthem, flag song in Anchorage schools fails to pass school board vote

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - UPDATE: The proposal to require that the national anthem and state song be played in Anchorage schools during the first week of classes and once per month after that has failed to pass an Anchorage School Board vote, 4-3.

ORIGINAL STORY: Outside the Anchorage School District Education Center, flags wave as the debate over their matching songs heats up, with a controversial proposal over the national anthem and state flag song set to be the center of attention at the Tuesday night School Board meeting.

“There’s so few things, so few customs Americans have that hold us together,” said School Board Member Dave Donley, who put forth the proposal. “As a nation and as Americans, we have the constitution, we have our rights, we have the flag, and the national anthem is one of those few things.”

Donley’s proposal, if passed, would require schools to play the national anthem and state song, “Alaska’s Flag,” during the first week of the school year and at least once a month after that. It’s up to schools to decide when and how they’d play it, whether through loudspeakers, at assemblies, etc.

“It doesn’t require anybody to sing it, it doesn’t require anybody to even stand for it,” Donley said, “because we have a provision in existing policy that people - we respect their choices. But it would require the playing of the national anthem and state flag song.”

Still, some don’t agree that the songs would instill more patriotism in schools, feeling instead the policy would be a waste of time, cutting into precious instruction hours for students.

Public testimony will be heard Tuesday, with board members set to vote after that.

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