An elementary school in southern New Jersey will cease saying “God bless America” after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The move comes following a legal complaint by the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Sam Sassano, principal of Glenview Elementary School in Haddon Heights, said the voluntary tradition started following the attacks of September 11, 2001, in honor of the victims and first responders that perished in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
“It just became sort of a habit,” Sassano told the Courier Post. “Now it’s part of the culture here.”
On December 30, the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU sent a letter to the school’s attorney, calling the school’s endorsement of the phrase “unconstitutional.”
“The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government not only from favoring one religion over another, but also from promoting religion over non-religion,” read the letter, written by ACLU-NJ legal director Ed Barocas.
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