The morning's regularly scheduled announcements included the Arabic reading of the pledge. According to students, the announcement was greeted by catcalls and angry denunciations in classrooms throughout the school by students who felt the reading was inappropriate.Even a Muslim leader has said that the Pledge should always be read in English.
The reading became the subject of angry talk throughout the school and a cascade of tweets both from students who criticized the reading and those who supported it.
The controversy has "divided the school in half," according to school Superintendent Joan Carbone. She described the reading as "something that was supposed to be good but turned out not to be."
Early Wednesday afternoon, high school Principal Aaron Hopmayer made a building-wide announcement explaining the reading's context and apologizing to students who took offense.
The apology appears to have done little to quell the situation; it may, in fact, have fueled resentment from students who feel the reading was appropriate.
Carbone said she had received complaints from district residents who had lost family members in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents who were equally outraged by the reading.
Atif Hasan, the treasurer at the Middletown Islamic Center, says yes, schools should be doing more to teach students about different cultures and to promote diversity.
But he said they should not use the Pledge of Allegiance to do so, as Pine Bush High School did on Wednesday.
The Pledge of Allegiance should always be recited in English, he said.
“To me, that’s ludicrous,” Hasan said of the decision to read the pledge in Arabic, even if the intention was to promote diversity. The pledge, he said, “belongs to the land. It should be in English. The language it was created in is the only language in which it should be said. It’s a beautiful pledge.”
Apparently, this isn't the first time Pine Bush has been in the spotlight.
In 2013, Jewish parents sued the district and administrators in federal court, accusing them of being indifferent to chronic anti-Semitic behavior.Now don't get me wrong, I encourage people to learn other languages, I speak several, but surely they could have read some other announcement. And the Pledge in a foreign language, come on, how stupid can you get.