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ACTON, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts judge has found that the rights of an atheist couple and their children are not being violated when the words "under God" are recited in the Pledge of Allegiance in Acton schools.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Jane Haggerty also ruled there was no violation of state law or the school's anti-discrimination policy.
The judge ruled that including "under God" in a voluntary patriotic exercise doesn't "convert the exercise into a prayer." She said the case presented a "familiar dilemma" of balancing conflicting interests in a pluralistic society.
School Superintendent Stephen Mills said officials are pleased with the decision and continue to work for "a positive and accepting educational environment" for all students.
The American Humanist Association says the plaintiffs plan to appeal.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)