Students and parents at a Colorado high school are outraged after administrators turned down their request for a spirit weekday honoring America because it might offend non-Americans.
"They said they didn't want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants," a 16-year-old member of the student council told me. "They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable."
The student council at Fort Collins High School had proposed having a day to celebrate the United States during next week's Winter Spirit Week. The young people pitched "'Merica Monday" – and invited their classmates to dress in patriotic colors. Administrators promptly shot down their proposal.
"They said they didn't want to be exclusive to any other country," a 17-year-old member of the student council told me.
The students and parents who talked to me about this incident have asked to remain anonymous. The parents feared their children might face reprisals from liberal educators.
"It's bizarre and idiotic that we've come to this crossroads in our society that we are having to sacrifice our own culture and belief system," one of the parents told me. "I can't even tell you how it got our blood boiling."
After the administrators rejected the day to celebrate America, the teenagers offered a compromise – "My Country Monday."
"We opened it up to everyone – no matter what country you are from," the 17-year-old student told me. "That got declined, too."
The school's decision left students frustrated, confused and angry.
"It's shocking," the 16-year-old said. "There are men and women fighting for our country and we should be able to celebrate that and be proud that we live in a country where we are allowed to vote – the right to free speech. They won't even let us celebrate it."
The irony, said the students, is that they are required to participate in Cinco de Mayo celebrations. One member of the student council pointed out the hypocrisy – and noted that students were not being forced to dress in red, white and blue for "'Merica Day."
"We were confused why we couldn't do one day that was for America," the student told me.
The parents said they are "so tired" of political correctness.
The principal at Fort Collins High School did not return my phone calls and neither did the assistant principal. A spokesperson for the Poudre School District sent me a statement acknowledging they rejected the "'Merica Day" celebration.
"Building administration met with the students to discuss the inconsistency of this day versus the other planned theme days including PJ day and Twin day," the statement read. "The students then suggested changing the first day to My Country Monday and administration agreed. This theme day allows students to showcase their pride in America and for international students, their country of origin."
However, parents and students said that's not accurate. They said My Country Monday was originally rejected last week and was only reinstated midday Monday – shortly after I called the school district and began making inquiries (a coincidence, I'm sure.)
I asked the district spokesperson to clarify their statement. The spokesperson did not return my message.
"They said they didn't feel comfortable having a day celebrated where students might feel uncomfortable with the patriotism that students are showing," one of the students told me.
Unbelievable. This is the United States of America. We welcome the huddled masses yearning to be free with arms wide open. But if you come to our land and take offense at our values and traditions, then don't let the door hit you on the way out.
And shame on the administrators at Fort Collins High School for treating American school children like second-class citizens.
To the young patriots at Fort Collins High School, I offer these words: America, America, God shed His grace on Thee. Don't let your teachers tell you otherwise.