The New York City elementary school principal who banned the song “God Bless the USA” from being performed at a kindergarten graduation ceremony because it might offend other cultures has refused to respond to a congressman’s request for a meeting.
Rep. Michael Grimm, (R-NY) sent a letter last week asking for a meeting with Greta Hawkins, the principal of the Edna Cohen School in Coney Island.
Hawkins made headlines when she instructed teachers to remove the patriotic song from the kindergarten graduation ceremony. Staffers at the school told the New York Post that Hawkins was afraid he song might “offend other cultures.”
A spokesperson for the Dept. of Education released a statement to Fox News Radio indicating the song was pulled because “the principal felt the lyrics were not age appropriate for a kindergarten moving up ceremony.”
The spokesperson also noted that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “America the Beautiful” at the start of every school day.
Dennis Walcott, the chancellor of NYC schools, defended Hawkins.
“It’s her judgment to make that decision,” he told the Post. “You have to really wonder about some of the lyrics in the song, so I have to rely on the principal’s judgment along that line.
So Grimm, who is a Marine combat veteran and a former FBI agent, asked for a meeting. He released a statement Monday noting that his request had been ignored.
Grimm wanted to meet with the children, congratulate them for their hard work and present them with a copy of a book by Lee Greenwood, the man behind “God Bless the USA.”
“It is unfortunate that the principal of PS. 90 fails to see the value in sharing a song or a story about American patriotism,” Grimm said. “As a Marine combat veteran, a former FBI agent and a member of Congress, I have dedicated my life to serving this country and defending our flag. These are experiences I had hoped to share with the students of P.O. 90.”
The Dept. of Education did not return calls seeking comment on why the congressman’s request was ignored.
“I have just one question for this principal – who exactly are we offending?” Grimm sked. “The only thing offensive about any of this is the anti-American message being engrained in our youth. We all should be proud to be American and we should never ever apologize for it.”
“It’s time we stop letting our political correctness destroy our values and American traditions, and start embracing the exceptional people and cultures that make our country great,” he added.
Grimm said Greenwood and Tate Publishing donated copies of the book, ‘God Bless the USA,’ to students and parents. They will be delivered at an after school rally Monday.
He called Greenwood and the publishing house “true patriots” and praised them for helping to “right a terrible wrong” done by the school.