PJI Defends Students Threatened for Singing Patriotic Songs in Capitol Rotunda
Sacramento, CA – Students attending an educational conference in the California Capitol building were accosted by security for singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” The students were participating in City On A Hill which teaches students the fundamentals of the legislative process. Approximately forty-five students were in the rotunda and, inspired by the grandeur of the setting and their feelings of patriotism, began to spontaneously sing. A sergeant at arms and four Highway Patrol Officers asserted to the City On A Hill staff that the students required a permit to sing.
Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the students, sent a letter to the Chief Sergeant at Arms, Ronald Pane, informing him that these students were exercising their expressive rights under the state and federal constitutions. In that the students will be singing again in the Capitol, PJI stated in its letter that further attempts at censorship will be met with appropriate legal action.
Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute and director of the youth conference stated, “This was a ghastly overreaction to some students expressing their patriotism in the seat of government.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We intend to stand by and defend these patriotic students to ensure their rights are protected.”