Students enrolled in an intermediate Spanish class at Achieve Early College High School in McAllen, Texas, a town located about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a recent class assignment.
However, sophomore Brenda Brinsdon sat down, refused to participate and recorded it on video (below). “I just thought it was out of hand, I didn’t think it was right,” she told TheBlaze.com. “Reciting pledges to Mexico and being loyal to it has nothing to do with learning Spanish.”
She was also offended because the presentations took place during 'Freedom Week,' the week after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and on U.S. Constitution Day, the same day as Mexico’s Independence Day.
“Why are we doing their independence when it‘s Freedom Week and it’s also Constitution Day?” Brinsdon said.
Brinsdon complained to the school principal, Yvette Cavazo, who told her it was part of the curriculum and that she should participate. When Brenda made clear she would not stand up and recite the pledge, she was given an alternative assignment: an essay on the history of the Mexican revolution.
According to the state’s Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards, students are expected to gain “knowledge and understanding” of other cultures, but there are no specific requirements about learning to recite pledges or anthems.
School district spokesman Mark May defended the presentations, saying it’s a state requirement for upper-level language classes to teach about foreign culture: “It wasn’t required to pledge loyalty and renounce the U.S., they were simply spreading the culture of another country. In my mind it’s no different from memorizing a poem or memorizing a passage from Shakespeare.”
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Brinsdon's father William took issue with that claim: “You‘re taking their allegiance and their oath from Mexico and cheapening it just as a grade or words don’t mean anything. Our kids don’t even know the (American) national anthem and here we are…teaching them to memorize and perform the national anthem for Mexico. I just think it’s so backwards.”