A listener with an elementary student in Wrightstown shared this note and email exchange. We'll discuss it on Tuesday's show...
I would love to hear how your listeners respond to my recent experience. Last week Monday, the Mothers joined the Wrightstown Kindergarten class to share in “Muffins with Mom”. Prior to our event, the Principal welcomed all students via intercom and as usual broadcasted the Pledge of Allegiance………………..HOWEVER, proceeded with a group of students reciting THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IN SPANISH! I inquired further and learned the Pledge of Allegiance is conducted in English AND Spanish regularly. I have included the email expressing our concerns to the Principal and the Superintendent.
Feel free to read my email and the corresponding response. I also followed up with surrounding school districts and could not find 1 from the 11 schools contacted who recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish. I would appreciate you sharing this story with your audience in order to determine if the listeners find this as inappropriate at we do!
We are writing to express our concern regarding the Pledge of Allegiance being broadcasted over the Intercom in Spanish. Not only does reciting this in Spanish insult our family as American citizens, it is disrespectful to the veterans who have defended our country.
English is the primary language in this country. Our government is in English. Our laws are in English. When a new American citizen publicly takes the oath of allegiance promising to defend the Constitution, they do so in English. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in English and should be recited in English. No similar accommodations were made for other immigrant patterns in history nor should they be as long as the American Flag is flying.
Furthermore, the purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance is to inspire patriotism and unify Americans to focus on the meaning of the Republic and encourage loyalty to the United States of America. Our child should not be subject to the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in any other language than English. This is offensive and should be stopped immediately!
(I am withholding the parent's names)
Principal Response:Dear xxxxxxxx,
Thank you for your e-mail expressing your concern. It is evident that you are very patriotic citizens and are to be highly commended for this fact. The Pledge is read and recited in Spanish by those student who's primary language is Spanish and is not recited by our English speaking students who are not fluent in Spanish.
By way of explanation, this is our reasoning for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the Spanish language from time to time. First and foremost, we want the Spanish-speaking students to be able to understand what they are saying when they recite the pledge in English on a daily basis. We want them to get a grasp of the importance that the pledge has in the everyday lives of American citizens such as yourselves. If it is not presented to them from time to time in a language they can understand, they may never understand the profound significance that the pledge has for citizens and veterans alike. We want all kids to know and understand what they are reciting in the English language along with their classmates every day. There are some kids whose English proficiency is yet quite low, so they have no idea of what the Pledge of Allegiance actually means. That's why we tell it to them in Spanish ( or Hmong, if need be. The Hmong actually fought along side of the U.S. in the Vietnam War and came to the U.S. as political refugees). Presently 11% of the US Army fighting overseas and stationed around the world is Hispanic. Most of our families emigrated here from elsewhere and at one time did not speak English (German and Swedish in my case). Of course all kids must learn the English language in order to function well in the United States of America. That's why we first recite the pledge in English everyday.
In short, I admire your patriotism and sense that you want the best for the kids and the country you love so dearly. The Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and civil liberties of every person in this country. It is my responsibility as a principal in a public school to give every student the opportunity to learn and grow as a student, no matter what their race or religion.
I hope this explanation makes our motivation and purposes more clear to you.
Elementary School Principal
Wrightstown Community Schools