The principal of an elementary school instructed his students to stand during the recitation of a pledge to the Mexican flag during a diversity assembly recently, and he’s been trying to backtrack ever since.
“We absolutely refuse to stand up and pledge allegiance to another country’s flag,” a mother whose daughter attends the school told talk show host Chris Baker on AM 740 KTRH radio. “Where is the sensitivity to the country and to the troops and the men and women that have fought and died for this country?”
The mother, identified only as Amy, said school officials gave all the children Mexican flags to wave and then asked everyone to stand up and pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag.
“Get out!” Baker shouted. “What school is that?”
It was Velasco Elementary in Clute, Texas, where Sam Williams is principal.
Stuart Dornburg is a spokesman for the Brazosport Independent School District which includes Velasco, and he said Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 is a national Hispanic Heritage Month and the assembly was a cultural education activity in a district that values and respects diversity.
But Amy said she got “glares” when she didn’t participate and when she “proudly” put the Mexican flag on the ground.
She said her husband was in Vietnam for three tours of duty, and she has a son in the war now.
“Arrest that man immediately. Bring him to me,” Baker said.
In a report in The Facts, Williams said the response to his action was “overwhelming.”
“It’s been a real trying ordeal and all I can say is I deeply apologize if anyone was offended by it – and I can see that they are,” the principal said
He said the situation should have been done differently. “There’s no way that we would repeat it,” he told the news group.
Officials say there are 635 students from preschool age to fourth grade in Velasco, and about two-thirds are Hispanic.
“We have stated in our mission statement that we are a campus that is a beacon of hope for a culturally diverse population,” Williams said.
The assembly was held Sept. 16, a day on which Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain.
Baker said the recitation was especially offensive since the U.S. is in the middle of a serious dispute over illegal immigration and the huge ramifications the nation faces from not having a secured border with Mexico.
“To blow it off as quote-unquote ‘historical teaching methods’ either shows complete arrogance or a lack of the ability to grasp the seriousness of the illegal immigration issue to Americans,” told his listeners.
On a weblog, a fan identified as El Jefe Maximo said, “What’s needed is a dose of nationalism, with a pinch of religion, and I’d throw in a dash of evil old imperialism as well.”
Papa Ray told the same blog, “Homeschooling is looking more and more attractive to me for my Sweet Sarah.”
Williams was upset that parents took their complaints to the radio waves.
“I would have graciously visited with that parent and explained on-site what the intent was,” he said.
“I really don’t understand why President Bush is so gung ho on giving these people ‘a pathway to citizenship.’ I would like to see them given a pathway back to Mexico after they help to build the wall,” said Starblazer.