"The Principal of 'Edna Cohen School' (PS 90) of Brooklyn NY has banned the song, 'Proud to Be an American' from their Kindergarten End of Year Ceremony. The Principal, Greta Hawkins, made the decision after considering that it may be "offensive" to students of other cultures and their families. Her decision "came as a shock" to teachers and many parents, who had looked forward to the Kinder Grad ceremony, and had invested time and energy to teaching and rehearsing the song with their students.
More than anything, I think that this is just sad. What is the message here, to this generation of young students in this Public School? Most of them ARE American. Should they not be proud of that? And, for those who are not American, shouldn't it be ok for them to be proud to be IN America?
I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the USA is the only country who has tried to shake away from its own foundation, to appease the 'rest of the world'. It's amazing to me.
It is reported that Greta Hawkins practices a religion that forbids her to engage in patriotic activity. Her decision was backed by the NYC School Board Administrators. Some blog sites that wrote on this news have suggested that she is pushing her own agendas. After reading the 'Mission Statement' of the school I have to wonder if they are right. It states,
"The Edna Cohen School, a partnership of educators, staff, students, parents, and community is committed to teach, motivate, and challenge all students, including Special Education, Limited English Proficiency students and hight achieving students to high standards. Our commitment is to fulfill our students' high intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, and physical potential. We strive to help them apply their knowledge and skills to become contributing, responsible, and respectful citizens [of the USA] in a rapidly changing, diverse, and global community."
I think that cultural, and religious tolerance, and respect for diversity is an essential element for a peaceful and productive nation. But when does tolerance become intolerable to its own roots? And what becomes of a nation of people who are stripped of their right to be proud of where they come from? This country was built on values and beliefs that Americans have fought to protect and immigrants have fought to be able to enjoy. Shouldn't the cultural history of this great country be learned and celebrated? Have Americans forgotten where they come from?
I am writing from the perspective of an outsider looking in. My family and I have enjoyed building a life here in the US for 12 years now. Our story of what brought us here is not as dramatic as some other 'immigrant's' stories, but I can tell you our decision to be here in the US was deliberate, and not easy. We 'fought' for it and are proud to be here. There will never be a time in my life when I won't stand for the National Anthem, or give respect and thanks for those who protect this great country and what it stands for. Any American who doesn't understand this should travel abroad and learn why they call this place ..."the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave". JMK "