Outrage has filled New York as a school, celebrating National Foreign Language Week, allowed a student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic...
A school in New York State has found themselves dealing with a lot of ignorant parents, upset that a student recited the US Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. Understanding that America is a land of immigrants, and that neither the US nor New York state has an official language, the school’s foreign language department thought it would be a good idea to read the Pledge of Allegiance in a different language each day for a week.
What was meant to be an exercise in tolerance and understanding turned into an outcry of anger after a student recited the pledge in Arabic during the morning announcements of Pine Bush High School. The school district superintendent, Joan Carbone, told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that the Arabic pledge "divided the school in half" and that she had received numerous complaints.
Most of the complaints were received from people who lost family in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents, according to a school official. Perhaps those who lost family in Afghanistan have an arguable reason to be upset, except for the fact that Afghanistan major languages are Dari/Pashto and not Arabic.
The school's student leader, Andrew Zink, who is in charge of the morning announcements, told US media that he knew the reading would attract controversy. He permitted it to go forward, because he believed it was "the right thing to do," adding, "What makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in."
A statement from the district apologised "to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful," and said the reading was intended to "promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country."
What was intended to be a way of celebrating National Foreign Language Week, quickly turned into an embarrassing drama for a school that only wanted to celebrate the nation’s diversity. Trying to control the ridiculous fury, the school has released an official statement that the Pledge of Allegiance will only be read in English from now on. Well done America.