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Atheist Family Sues Mass. School District Over ‘Under God’ In Pledge

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File photo of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

File photo of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

ACTON, Mass. (AP) — An atheist family from Acton has sued the local school district, saying their children are being discriminated against because the Pledge of Allegiance contains the words “under God.”

The family’s lawyer asked a judge in Middlesex Superior Court on Monday to have the words taken out.

The parents are identified only as John and Jane Doe, with three children, one in high school and two in middle school.

Their attorney told the judge the children are being marginalized and discriminated against, and that reciting the pledge “defines patriotism according to a particular religious belief.”

The school district’s attorney said the pledge is constitutional and voluntary.

Superintendent Stephen Mills says the there are no negative consequences for students who choose not to say the pledge.

The judge did not immediately rule.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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