A Colorado high school is barring students from hosting a day to honor the United States for fear it may offend non-Americans — offending students and parents in the process.
As a part of next week’s “Winter Spirit Week” at Fort Collins High School, the students broached the idea of “‘Merica Monday,” with everyone dressed in red, white and blue. Not so fast, said school administrators, according to Fox News.
“They said they didn’t want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants,” a 16-year-old member of the student council told Fox News on condition of anonymity. “They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
She called the incident “shocking,” saying, “There are men and women fighting for our country, and we should be able to celebrate that and be proud that we live in a country where we are allowed to vote – the right to free speech. They won’t even let us celebrate it.”
Parents were equally outraged.
“It’s bizarre and idiotic that we’ve come to this crossroads in our society that we are having to sacrifice our own culture and belief system,” one parent told Fox. “I can’t even tell you how it got our blood boiling.”
Thrown into the mix is the hypocrisy of Fort Collins High students being required to celebrate Cinco de Mayo each year. For the proposed “‘Merica Day,” classmates would only be encouraged — not required — to dress in patriotic colors.
“We were confused why we couldn’t do one day that was for America,” the student told Fox.
Neither the principal nor vice principal returned calls from Fox. However, a spokesman for the school district sent a written statement, saying:
“Building administration met with the students to discuss the inconsistency of this day versus the other planned theme days including PJ day and Twin day. The students then suggested changing the first day to My Country Monday and administration agreed. This theme day allows students to showcase their pride in America and for international students, their country of origin.”
However, parents and students said that’s not accurate. They said My Country Monday was originally rejected last week and was only reinstated midday Monday – shortly after I called the school district and began making inquiries (a coincidence, I’m sure.)
I asked the district spokesperson to clarify their statement. The spokesperson did not return my message.
Students are required to celebrate a Mexican holiday but can’t be encouraged to celebrate America? It reminds me of Dorothy’s line to Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” — “Something tells me we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Something tells me we’re not in America anymore.
The principal of Fort Collins High School apologized to parents and the student body Tuesday, and has reversed his previous decision. Next Monday, students will celebrate “‘America Monday.”
He offered this letter to parents, according to a separate Fox report.
“We apologize for our recent decision regarding My Country Monday and that it was seen as not patriotic. This could not be further from the truth. The original intent of Spread the Love week at Fort Collins High School was to unify the student body. When students first proposed “Merica Monday,” we felt that it was against this unifying theme and disrespectful to our country. Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative stereotypical way to describe life in the United States. This is what led us to discuss alternatives with students. We were surprised that our community interpreted our actions as anti-American. We are a proud public school in America and support many activities to celebrate our great nation. Due to this outpouring of sentiment and misinterpretation of our intentions, we have decided to rename the first day of Spread the Love week to “America Day” as opposed to “Merica Day.” We look forward to enjoying the creativity and energy of our students as they celebrate their patriotism next week.”
Students and parents are adamant that this is not, in fact, the way events went down. The only excuse administrators offered for rejecting the idea was to avoid offending non-Americans.
In addition, the students suggested the name “America Monday” rather than “‘Merica Monday,” but this too was rejected.
At any rate, the show is now going on.