Students and parents at a Colorado high school are outraged and confused after school administrators said "no" to students' request for a spirit week day honoring America.
The administration told the students, "It might offend non-American students" attending the public school."
Ellie Goodspeed, a senior and treasurer of the student council said, "I can see both sides, but I think it's kind of absurd that we can't celebrate the country we're in---whether you're from it or just visiting. It's a country."
Frankly, I don't see both sides and neither do a lot of parents and taxpayers in the school district.
Most, however, agree; it's absurd.
Here's what is happening up front and behind the scenes. And why it matters to all of us.
Each year Fort Collins High School has "Spirit Week" during the week of Valentine's Day.
The junior class is in charge of planning the themes for each day of the week. Some themes include "PJ day" and "Twin day," etc.
This year the students decided to include a day called "Merica Day" to celebrate America.
School district spokeswoman Danielle Clark told the Coloradoan, "Building administrators met with students to discuss the inconsistencies of this day verses the other planned theme days, including 'PJ day' and 'Twin day.'"
Honoring America in America is inconsistent with what?
Apparently it's inconsistent with the public education narrative that America is not exceptional and in fact repressive to many. Or, perhaps it's inconsistent with the idea that no one should have any absolute beliefs or strong convictions about anything, unless it is about advancing the secular progressive ideology that there are no absolutes.
The students then offered a compromise. They asked if they could have a day called "My Country Day" so the non Americans could celebrate their own country and not be offended, while the Americans celebrated America.
Then the school district reconsidered and said they would allow "My Country Day."
Senior Stephanie Livingston says, "The school's decision was hypocritical given that students celebrate the Mexican culture holiday Cinco de Mayo."
She said she believes the prohibition of "Merica Day" was "an affront to students and their family members who have served in the Armed Forces."
As you can imagine, this has become a big deal over the last couple of days and is now being discussed well beyond Fort Collins.
Craig Hewitt wrote on a Facebook page put up by Fort Collins students, "By doing this the administrators disrespect the US Constitution and veterans like me."
Others are calling for the administrators who made the decision to be fired.
Parents are saying they are "sick and tired" of political correctness.
One student said, "We are confused why we couldn't do one day for America."
Yesterday, about noon, it appears the school administrators got the message----sort of.
The Coloradoan posted this on their Facebook page: "In an email sent to parents Tuesday, Fort Collins High School Principal Mark Eversole apologized that ban of 'Merica Monday' was seen as unpatriotic. He said administrators felt 'Merica' is a slang term often used in a negative stereotypical way to describe the life in the United States. That is what led us to discuss alternatives with the students."
What? So the act of saying no to celebrating America was actually an act of patriotism?
Do you believe that?
Neither do I.
The word "Merica" or Merika" has a thousand fathers, as they say. Some say it was introduced by punk rock band the Descendents as a cut off their album, "Cool To Be You." Others say it originated from the way President George W. Bush said "America." Still others say it is the way native Philadelphians pronounce "America."
If that was really the thinking of the administrators, why then did they tell the kids it was because they were concerned non-Americans would be offended?
And if it is a slang word that reflects negatively on America, why then would non-Americans who would be offended by celebrating America be offended by a negative connotation on America?
No wonder kids are confused. And parents are sick and tired of political correctness.
It is not only parents that are getting sick and tired of what is going on in public education.
Some elected officials are as well.
State Senator Ed Emery is a member of the Senate Education Committee in the Missouri legislature.
He too is sick and tired of the way public education is performing.
He told a group this past year that "public education has indoctrinated 3 generations of Missouri children, and it's time to make some changes.
""We have to take back the minds of children from the government," Emery said.
"We no longer have public schools, we have government schools. We have government-paid teachers, a government-made curriculum, and government supplied buildings."
"For three generations, we have allowed the absolutes of religion, patriotism, and family to be removed in favor of tolerance and open-mindedness."
This is being done, Emery said, because teachers want to be liked and trusted by their students, so they are not teaching the children, as they should, that the "one size fits all socialist government" (represented by public school teachers) should not be trusted.
I have linked Emery's remarks in the link above. His comments about public education begin at about 20 minutes into the video.
Clearly all public school teachers do not feel that way, but some, perhaps even a majority do.
Principal Eversole told parents yesterday afternoon, after consideration, the kids "could" now have an "America Day."
In this confusion, one thing seems to rise above the noise.
If enough pressure is applied by enough concerned parents and citizens, school administrators have the ability to "evolve" on important issues. At least until the next episode.
Another take away is that we need significant change in the way our children are being "educated."
Be Pro-Active. Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Vocal. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.