Superintendent signs 2019 Constitution Week proclamation

Superintendent Jon Bret Smith signs a proclamation ensuring the school system’s participation in marking the 232nd anniversary of the United States Constitution. Pictured standing from the left are DAR Citizenship Chairperson Betty Montgomery, DAR Regent Bettye Moore, East Lawrence Elementary School Principal Tameka Madden and DAR Constitution Chairperson Anita Pahman.

The Stephens Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution met with Superintendent Jon Bret Smith on Tuesday, July 30, to begin coordinating the Lawrence County School System’s involvement with the annual observance of Constitution Week (Sept. 17-23), which commemorates the 231st Anniversary of the drafting of the United States Constitution. 

Superintendent Smith and Principal Tameka Madden, Principal of East Lawrence Elementary School, signed an “I Will Read the Constitution” Proclamation at the principal’s meeting on Tuesday just before the start of the 2019-20 school year. 

This proclamation marks the beginning of preparations to be made by Lawrence County schools’ participation in the national observance.

Lawrence County schools have been involved with the coordination of Constitution Week since 2011. Moulton Middle School and Speake School have each held parades for the event in the past. 

DAR Constitution Chairperson Anita Pahman explained the celebration is aimed to promote understanding and awareness for protecting and defending the Constitution as well as to encourage the study of American history and heritage. 

“We would like our teachers to ensure that their students know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the Constitution,” said Pahman. “The principals were very receptive this year, and the meeting was well attended.”

By law, teachers of federally funded schools are required to teach the Constitution during the observance week. Pahman explained how crucial the involvement of the school is for young students learning about our nation’s history. 

Pahman also stressed the importance of the teachers’ understanding. 

“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Pahman. “Teachers need to know our history. You can’t teach what you don’t know.”

Pahman adds that there are other ways to celebrate the observance outside the school campuses. One movement, “Be Loud for Liberty,” is marked by the tolling of church bells at 3 p.m. on Sept. 17, to commemorate the exact time of the signing in 1787. 

Citizens may blow their car horns or shout from the street at 3 p.m. that day as well, Pahman suggested. 

Lawrence County officials will participate in the observance of Constitution Week and sign proclamations as well, Pahman said. 

NSDAR first petitioned Congress to dedicate the week of Sept. 17 annually to the observance of Constitution Week, and it was signed into public law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Aug. 2, 1956. 

In 2004, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed, which renamed Constitution Day and mandates that schools receiving federal funds be required to offer instruction on the Constitution to its students each year on Sept. 17.

For more information concerning Constitution Week, or for additional information on NSDAR, visit www.dar.org.

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