Greta Hawkins, the principal of P.S. 90 on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, objected to her kindergarten class singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” during their graduation, so she banned the song from the ceremony.
Citing objectionable lyrics and deeming it not ‘age appropriate,’ Hawkins had the song replaced with (get this) Justin Beiber’s “Baby.” People were naturally bent out of shape over Hawkins’ decision. Now the principal (who is African-American) is receiving racist hatemail and a Faceook page has been made calling for her to be fired.
This isn’t the first time Hawkins has caused a stir. Back in January she backed up a teacher’s plan to reward students who didn’t use the bathroom. Parents at the school say she makes some pretty controversial rules and they’d like to see her go. On Good Day New York this morning, one parent of a kindergartener said that it was time for the principal to move on because of this and many other recent issues.
I can understand both sides of the song issue. My son’s class is actually singing that exact song for their Spring Fling and I’m going to love each and every minute of it.
Others took it further. Apparently, Hawkins has been receiving hate mail since November. One of the letters Hawkins received to the school said “N—– and their Jew commie bosses are the scum of the earth.” Another said, “Let’s hope that AIDS will do what sickle cell anemia failed to do, exterminate your whole simian race.” A comment on the Facebook page reads, “If you don’t like the USA You can get the f— out, you commie piece of s—.”
I can understand both sides of the song issue. On one hand, I have no problem whatsoever with kids singing that song. My son’s class is actually singing that exact song for their Spring Fling and I’m going to love each and every minute of it. I think it’s a song filled with national pride and wholesome, honorable lyrics.
On the other hand, I understand the idea of separation of church and state, and since P.S. 90 is a public school, I get how choosing a song that doesn’t have the word “God” in it might be a better option at a publicly funded school. I mean that has to be the objection hiding behind the “not age-appropriate” claim, right? Because I can’t see anyone saying we shouldn’t be proud to be an American or sing songs of national pride at school ceremonies.
Here is where the problem escalates. Replacing it with Beiber’s “Baby’ and saying that is more age-appropriate is just crazy talk. Besides the mind numbing repeats of “Baby, baby, baby, oh,” here are some of the other lyrics:
For you, I would have done whatever
And I just can’t believe we’re here together
When I was 13, I had my first love
There was nobody that compared to my baby
And nobody came between us who could ever come above
She had me going crazy
Can someone please tell me how this is appropriate for 5-year-olds at all? Clearly, there is an issue here.
And yet, attacking an educator, or anyone at all with racist and hateful comments is ridiculously wrong, too, not to mention illegal. The police are currently investigating to identify exactly who is sending the hate mail.
The NY Daily News reports that City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott defended Principal Hawkins, and said that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “America the Beautiful” everyday.
What offends you most? Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” sung at a public school? That it was replaced with Beiber’s “Baby”? Or the hateful and racist hate mail that is resulting from it all?
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