School Bans Kindergartners From Singing 'God Bless the USA'
I don't care where you stand religiously or politically, when kids are allowed to croon a Justin Bieber tune for a school performance but singing a patriotic song isn't allowed, I think we have a serious problem. The problem in this case is an incident that happened last week at a grade school in Coney Island, New York, when the school's kindergartners were banned from singing "God Bless the USA."
According to the New York Post, five classes of kindergartners had been practicing the patriotic song for months. It was going to be the finale in their big graduation performance on June 20. Only when the principal, Greta Hawkins, happened upon a rehearsal, she pulled the plug on the song and told them it wouldn't be allowed in the show.
Her reason is ridiculous.
“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” teachers told the paper she said.
Offend them how exactly she didn't say, but parents are outraged, as they should be. It doesn't mean that God shouldn't bless any other country, but this is the one we're living in, so it makes sense to sing about it. If her real objection is about mentioning "God," I understand the importance of separation of church and state, but this is so far overboard, it's unbelievable. Whether you believe in God or not, I think you can agree the sentiment is a lovely one, and parents aren't objecting to their kids singing it. So why should the school? God is part of many people's lives in this county and an important part of our heritage as nation. To just wipe his name from the slate is not only ignorant, it's also offensive to plenty of cultures as well.
Also, why did she pull the plug at the last minute when they'd been practicing for so long, and the same song has reportedly been sung in years past?
The school board is backing her up too, but for different reasons. Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti told the paper the lyrics are “too grown up” for 5-year-olds. You can read the lyrics of the song here, but there's nothing in there that kindergartners shouldn't hear. The refrain:
And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
The outrageous topper to this whole maddening case: They will be allowed to sing Justin Bieber's hit "Baby", which contains lines like: "Are we an item? Girl, quit playing.” You tell me which song you'd rather have your kindergartner sing.
Do you think children should be banned from singing "God Bless the USA" in school?
Image via mrsdkrebs/Flickr
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