About two years ago, a public school principal in New York told a group of five-year-old students that they must replace the song they had already rehearsed for a year-end celebration. The kids had planned to present a rendition of God Bless the U.S.A., a song Greta Hawkins deemed “too grown-up.”
The Coney Island administrator decided Lee Greenwood’s patriotic lyrics might “offend other cultures,” demanding the students find a replacement song. They ended up singing Justin Bieber’s saccharine single “Baby.”
Hawkins was back this year as young students planned another patriotic song. She quashed their plan sing Stand Up for the Red, White and Blue, ostensibly because she didn’t receive proper notice.
Plenty of her critics, however, contend her decision has deeper roots. The Jehovah’s Witness reportedly refuses any display of patriotism personally and has previously banned student exhibitions including the Pledge of Allegiance and America the Beautiful.
The black principal has also faced discipline for racist comments she made in 2010 regarding the school and her Jewish predecessor.
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