SAN RAMON, CA — A high school in San Ramon, California is under fire for forbidding the national anthem from being played at school events.
The Student Leadership Council at San Ramon’s California High recently made the decision to remove the national anthem from school events on the grounds that playing the anthem was “offensive” to blacks and other minorities.
In a letter to the school paper, Student Body President Ariyana Kermanizadeh called the third verse to the full anthem (https://tinyurl.com/ybzac2rv), which reads, “no refuge could save the hireling and slave” out as being particularly offensive.
“This verse translated, finds joy in the killing of African-Americans. To think that our nation’s anthem once had the word slave and ‘land of the free’ in the same sentence leaves me speechless” Kermanizadeh wrote.
But many of the school’s parents and students are outraged over the decision.
“The rally started and it got going and I realized there was no national anthem,” California High senior Dennis Fiorentinos told ABC7 (https://tinyurl.com/ya6ldx5x) of noticing the anthem missing for the first time during a school event. “It clicked in my head that they didn’t do the national anthem. I thought they forgot about it.”
“The importance of singing the national anthem to honor and respect those who’ve died and sacrificed their lives and protect the freedoms that us Americans take for granted every day is a much more important and unifying issue,” Fiorentinos continued. “The message behind the national anthem is one of unity… to protect the freedoms that many of us take for granted every day.”
Another student, California High senior Amir Udler, took to social media to call for the return of the national anthem.
In a Facebook post, Udler said the culture of political correctness will never end “if we don’t stop this right in its tracks.”
“We must recognize and learn from the awful stain on the history of our country that is slavery. But we can not allow under any circumstances for every patriotic icon that we have to be taken apart and disposed of merely because of any associations it might have,” Udler wrote. “It comes from a very disrespectful place. [Leadership] said it was in the name of ‘exclusivity’, but in reality, [leadership] is disenfranchising the vast majority of the school who loves the country, and who thinks the anthem should be played.”
“How can you start any event without the national anthem?” a parent angry by the decision to remove the anthem told ABC 7. “The whole thing is just ridiculous.”
In a statement, San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich addressed the controversy, saying the decision whether or not to return playing the national anthem at school events will ultimately be left up to the student council.
“The students understand that there are objections to their decision and will be using this opportunity to have further dialogue about future rallies,” the statement read.
So far, the council doesn’t seem to be backing down.
In a statement released late Tuesday, the council said what’s most important at this time is to be sensitive to the feelings of minorities.
“The decision did not come from a place of disrespect for our great military and country, but rather out of a desire to show respect to those who have been marginalized and alienated,” the email said.
The council said it apologizes to any veteran or active military who may feel “offended” by their decision.