One New York school apologized to parents after it allowed the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in Arabic as part of “National Foreign Language” week.
On Wednesday, Pine Bush Central School’s scheduled morning announcements included the decision to read the pledge in Arabic. The announcement was greeted by catcalls and angry complaints throughout the school. According to school Superintendent Joan Carbone, what was meant to be a good thing ended up dividing the school in half.
Though high school Principal Aaron Hopmayer apologized to the students who took offense, some students and teachers are still outraged and have taken to social media to voice their complaints. Carbone has received complaints from family members in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents – the school district is no stranger to controversy, since it was sued in 2013 for allegedly being indifferent to anti-Semitic behavior.
Other students, however, believe the decision is an expression of free speech.
“We’re all Americans, we came here as immigrants, we all spoke different languages,” Kingston high school student Broderick Reilly told TWC News. “I think today we should still be able to speak different languages and praise our country in some way.”
Andrew Zink, president of the student assembly and senior class president, originally read the pledge in Arabic. Though he knew how students would react when he was asked to read the pledge in that language, he admitted that he would do it again.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Zink said.
The school also released a statement apologizing for the decision on its website.