A Colorado high school prevented students from holding a patriotic celebration over concerns that it would offend non-Americans, according to a column posted Tuesday on the Fox News website.
Correspondent Todd Starnes quoted two anonymous student council members at Fort Collins High School who said administrators had denied their request for ‘Merica Day during this month’s annual Winter Spirit Week.
“They said they didn’t want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants,” Starnes quoted one 16-year-old student council member as saying. “They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
The students and parents who reported the outrage to Fox News asked to remain anonymous because they feared “reprisals from liberal educators,” Starnes reported.
Administrators wouldn’t even allow the students to hold a neutral “My Country Day,” Starnes reported, even though the students and their parents noted that the school celebrates the Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday.
Starnes said the school’s principal and assistant principal did not return his calls, but Poudre School District issued a statement that said the students’ plan was rejected because it did not fit the unifying theme of other spirit week events such as a pajama day and “twin” day.
A small protest was held outside the school Tuesday morning after the publication of Starnes’ report – which proved to be exactly wrong.
“We regret that the recent decision regarding My Country Monday was viewed as not patriotic,” the district said in a statement released late Tuesday. “This could not be further from the truth.”
School administrators rejected the original proposal, ‘Merica Monday, because they felt the slang term was disrespectful and divisive.
“‘Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative, stereotypical way to describe life in the United States,” the statement said. “This is what led administrators to discuss alternatives with students.”
Students admit the idea was somewhat satirical, but they thought administrators overreacted.
“Spirit day on Monday was to be called ‘Merica Monday — playing fun on the whole ‘Merica, kind of tough, America patriotism thing,” senior Christian Meyer told KMGH-TV. “The administration didn’t think it was inclusive to all students since we have a large amount of foreign exchange students (so) there’s a big backlash.”
Administrators they were surprised that their actions were interpreted as anti-American, and they agreed to rename the first day of the weeklong celebration America Day.
But that’s not enough for some students.
“A win is them allowing us to celebrate the days that we want because that’s what I call freedom of speech,” said sophomore Jason Dunn. “If people want to celebrate ‘Merica Day, they should. If people want to celebrate Britain Day, they should. If people want to celebrate gay marriage, then they should. I’m not saying I agree with all of them, but if they want to, they should.”
An adult community member told KMGH the school district had awakened a sleeping giant.
“Monday morning at 7, we’re going to be out here,” said Jeff Jensen. “Our goal is to surround the school with 5,000 flags and welcome these kids to school on ‘Merica Monday — to show them that it does mean something in this country to be a flag-waving American. I think the decision that was made, the [school’s] reasoning behind the decision, is absolutely ridiculous.”