The New York Post reported that Greta Hawkins, the principal of the Edna Cohen School in Coney Island, instructed teachers to pull the song from the graduation ceremony — even though the boys and girls spent months learning the patriotic song.
Principal Hawkins - NYPost
“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.
Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti defended the principal’s decision. They told the New York Post that Hawkins found the lyrics “too grown up” for 5-year-olds.
However, the students are still expected to perform an arrangement of the Justin Bieber song, “Baby.”
Many of the parents — who happen to be immigrants — are furious and want the children to perform “God Bless the USA.”
“A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride,” said mom Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.
Parents — many immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico and Ecuador — “love it,” Lozada told the newspaper.
A teacher agreed: “It makes them a little goosebumpy and teary-eyed. I’ve never come across anyone who felt it insulted their culture.”