March 23, 2015
Pine Bush High School, located in Pine Bush, New York, has apologized after a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom in Arabic.
Why was a student reciting it in Arabic in the first place? Pine Bush High’s foreign language department thought it was a swell idea to have the pledge read in a different language every day over the course of a week.
The school district superintendant, Joan Carbone, told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that the Arabic pledge had “divided the school in half” and that she had received numerous complaints.
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”.
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”.
“What makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in,” he said.
Sadyia Khalique, a spokeswoman for the New York chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said: “All Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned” by the reaction and subsequent apology.