Students were offended and authorities are taking plenty of heat at a New York state high school after the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in Arabic Wednesday in celebration of National Foreign Language week.
Instead of being greeted with respect, as the Pledge usually is, Wednesday morning’s rendition was greeted “by catcalls and angry denunciations,” according to the Times Record-Herald online.
Andrew Zink, the senior class president, normally gives the morning announcements, but was asked, instead, to allow someone else to deliver an Arabic version of the Pledge.
“I knew exactly what would happen,” he told the paper in a telephone interview.
Zink later tweeted:
To everyone who disagrees with my decisions, i respect your right to do so and hope we can have a productive conversation. Goodnight pb
— Mr. President (@AndrewZink1238) March 19, 2015
And this tiny New York town became the center of controversy:
@toddstarnes “…we can have a productive conversation,”. He’s already indoctrinated. Poor lad.
— Matt B (@MattBarrow1) March 19, 2015
@AndrewZink1238 “State Education Department regulations specifically say the Pledge of Allegiance should be read in English.”
— LizzieK (@BrynnaTM) March 19, 2015
@toddstarnes . WTH? I’m sure the Arabs at that school gave a damn. Wow. This country has died.
— Roxyana (@roxyloveslucy) March 19, 2015
Pine Bush High School administrators issued an online apology Thursday, saying their “intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country.”
And their first thought was Arabic?
“We sincerely apologize to any students, staff or community members who found this activity offensive,” the statement continued. “In our school District the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.”
Pine Bush administrators had it all wrong.
The whole concept of the United States being a “melting pot” is that people from different countries come together, assimilate and celebrate that which binds us all — being an American.
Highlighting our differences — whether by race, religion or language — only divides us as a nation.
President Obama, Eric Holder and Al Sharpton have yet to learn this lesson also.
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