During National Foreign Language week at Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, NY some folks decided that they’d recite the pledge over the intercom… in Arabic.
Needless to say, reaction to the incident was not positive, as many members of the local community were upset that the school would recite the pledge in any language other than English. One community member who happens to be of Arab Christian descent wrote in to the local paper to say, “The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t a ‘salute’ to America. It’s a promise to be loyal to it. Part of that loyalty should be to learn English and integrating into our culture.”
The school and district have both apologized saying that no offense was meant and that in the future the pledge will only be recited in English. The recitation in Arabic was only meant “in an effort to celebrate the many races, cultures and religions that make up this great country.” The school also said the pledge had been recited in other languages throughout National Foreign Language Week.
The student body President, Andrew Zink, was the person behind the pledge recitation, and he wasn’t exactly apologetic. He told the local news station TWC News that he “knew exactly what would happen” and that he would do it all over again because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Interestingly, when the school’s official statement is measured against the student body President’s statement, the purpose behind pledging in Arabic seems to become clouded. Mr. Zink’s comments seem to argue that he had an ulterior motive to using Arabic as one of the languages with which to recite the pledge. A desire to cause controversy.
While there were voices on both sides of the debate arguing the propriety of reciting the pledge in Arabic, it seems that those against the idea far outnumbered those in favor. In fact, the backlash has led the school to release a statement saying, “We sincerely apologize for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited this morning in the high school in a language other than English. In our school district the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened and honestly, this isn’t the last time either. We’ll no doubt be hearing from some knucklehead school district somewhere in America reciting the pledge (or some other revered poem or song) in Arabic again some time soon.