McCarthyism, the antiquated anti-communist doctrine of the 1950s Red Scare, is alive and well at a school district in Nebraska, reported RawStory.
Teachers and staff in the Hastings Public School district are required to pledge that they are not communist sympathizers, and they must affirm their “love and devotion” to the United States. The law was passed in 1951, and it requires teachers in the district to sign the McCarthy-era pledge. Despite there being no penalty provision in the statute, teachers and staff are still forced to sign.
“We’re not trying to violate anyone’s constitutional rights,” said Hasting Superintendent Craig Kautz. “As a public school, we can’t selectively decide what laws we abide by and which ones we don’t. I just hope we don’t get dragged into something that’s above our level.”
Are Hastings administrators purposely keeping the outdated law on the books? Or is this a case of timid Midwesterners just following ridiculous rules without any desire to rock the boat? Kautz says the school board is just following the letter of the law.
“Our job is to comply with the law to the best of our ability, but to say that we are forcing employees to take a McCarthy-era loyalty oath is just not accurate.” The American Civil Liberties Union suggests that the pledge is unconstitutional, and it violates the civil rights of the teachers and staff in Hastings Public School district.
The solution here is simple: repeal the law. It’s outdated and useless. The Soviet Union collapsed more than 25 years ago.
Here’s the pledge.
I, ………., do believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; an indissoluble nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I acknowledge it to be my duty to inculcate in the hearts and minds of all pupils in my care, so far as it is in my power to do, (1) an understanding of the United States Constitution and of the Constitution of Nebraska, (2) a knowledge of the history of the nation and of the sacrifices that have been made in order that it might achieve its present greatness, (3) a love and devotion to the policies and institutions that have made America the finest country in the world in which to live, and (4) opposition to all organizations and activities that would destroy our present form of government.