Tags: pledge of allegiance | arabic | reading | school

Pledge of Allegiance: Arabic Reading at NY School Causes Backlash

Image: Pledge of Allegiance: Arabic Reading at NY School Causes Backlash
Main entrance of Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 05:26 PM

A New York High School is the center of debate after the morning announcements included the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic on Wednesday in observance of Foreign Language Week.

Superintendent Joan Carbone told the Times Herald-Record that the Pledge reading "was supposed to be good but turned out not to be" after it was met with sharp criticism from some Pine Bush High School students, Jewish parents, and community members who had lost family members in Afghanistan.

ALERT: Should 'One Nation Under God' Stay in the Pledge of Allegiance? Vote Now

Those who supported the reading took issue with an apology by Principal Aaron Hopmayer.

New York Education Department regulations specify that the Pledge is to be read in English, the Times Herald-Record said.

“The point of reading it in another language is that it doesn't matter what language you speak,” student assembly president Andrew Zinc told the New York Daily News. “America is defined by what you believe, not what you speak or how you look. I wanted everyone to see this so we could see that deep cultural divide."

Zinc said he expected the reading to draw criticism, but he wasn’t expecting the severity of the backlash, which included harassment of the student who did the reading.

"That poor girl was crying in school yesterday. People would not leave her alone,” he told the Daily News.

VOTE NOW: Should the Pledge of Allegiance Be Changed?

The school also is said to have canceled its Foreign Language Week activities and banned Zinc from reading announcements, the newspaper said.

“This problem is not just a problem in Pine Bush,” Zinc told The Washington Post. “This is a cultural divide that exists within America. I think it’s just sad that people think what defines you as an American is the language you speak.”

A similar controversy was sparked in 2013 at Rocky Mountain High School in Colorado, when that school’s multicultural club translated the Pledge into other languages, including Arabic.

The Pine Bush School District also faces a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2012 alleging anti-Semitic harassment of some students.

URGENT: Do You Think 'One Nation Under God' Should Be Removed From the Pledge of Allegiance? Vote Here Now!

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A New York High School is the center of debate after the morning announcements included the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic on Wednesday in observance of Foreign Language Week.
pledge of allegiance, arabic, reading, school
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2015-26-19
Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 05:26 PM
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