79-724. American citizenship; committee on Americanism; created; duties; required instruction; patriotic exercises; duties of officers.

An informed, loyal, just, and patriotic citizenry is necessary to a strong, stable, just, and prosperous America. Such a citizenry necessitates that every member thereof be fully acquainted with the nation's history and that he or she be in full accord with our form of government and fully aware of the liberties, opportunities, and advantages of which we are possessed and the sacrifices and struggles of those through whose efforts these benefits were gained. Since youth is the time most susceptible to the acceptance of principles and doctrines that will influence men and women throughout their lives, it is one of the first duties of our educational system to conduct its activities, choose its textbooks, and arrange its curriculum in such a way that the love of liberty, justice, democracy, and America will be instilled in the hearts and minds of the youth of the state.

(1) Every school board shall, at the beginning of each school year, appoint from its members a committee of three, to be known as the committee on Americanism. The committee on Americanism shall:

(a) Carefully examine, inspect, and approve all textbooks used in the teaching of American history and civil government in the school. Such textbooks shall adequately stress the services of the men and women who achieved our national independence, established our constitutional government, and preserved our union and shall be so written to include contributions by ethnic groups as to develop a pride and respect for our institutions and not be a mere recital of events and dates;

(b) Assure themselves as to the character of all teachers employed and their knowledge and acceptance of the American form of government; and

(c) Take all such other steps as will assure the carrying out of the provisions of this section.

(2) All American history courses approved for grade levels as provided by this section shall include and adequately stress contributions of all ethnic groups (a) to the development and growth of America into a great nation, (b) to art, music, education, medicine, literature, science, politics, and government, and (c) to the war services in all wars of this nation.

(3) All grades of all public, private, denominational, and parochial schools, below the sixth grade, shall devote at least one hour per week to exercises or teaching periods for the following purpose:

(a) The recital of stories having to do with American history or the deeds and exploits of American heroes;

(b) The singing of patriotic songs and the insistence that every pupil memorize the Star-Spangled Banner and America; and

(c) The development of reverence for the flag and instruction as to proper conduct in its presentation.

(4) In at least two of the three grades from the fifth grade to the eighth grade in all public, private, denominational, and parochial schools, at least three periods per week shall be set aside to be devoted to the teaching of American history from approved textbooks, taught in such a way as to make the course interesting and attractive and to develop a love of country.

(5) In at least two grades of every high school, at least three periods per week shall be devoted to the teaching of civics, during which courses specific attention shall be given to the following matters:

(a) The United States Constitution and the Constitution of Nebraska;

(b) The benefits and advantages of our form of government and the dangers and fallacies of Nazism, Communism, and similar ideologies; and

(c) The duties of citizenship, including active participation in the improvement of a citizen's community, state, country, and world and the value and practice of civil discourse between opposing interests.

(6) Appropriate patriotic exercises suitable to the occasion shall be held under the direction of the superintendent in every public, private, denominational, and parochial school on Lincoln's birthday, Washington's birthday, Flag Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day, or on the day preceding or following such holiday, if the school is in session.

(7) Every school board, the State Board of Education, and the superintendent of each school district in the state shall be held directly responsible in the order named for carrying out this section, and neglect thereof by any employee or appointed official shall be considered a dereliction of duty and cause for dismissal.

Source:Laws 1949, c. 256, § 19, p. 697; Laws 1969, c. 705, § 1, p. 2705; Laws 1971, LB 292, § 3; R.S.1943, (1994), § 79-213; Laws 1996, LB 900, § 398; Laws 1999, LB 272, § 86; Laws 2011, LB544, § 1.

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