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Arabic rendition of Pledge of Allegiance ignites firestorm at New York high school

Pine Bush High School was celebrating Foreign National Week.

By Raif Karerat

Pine-Bush-High-SchoolWASHINGTON, DC: An attempt to celebrate national Foreign Language Week by reading the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic has caused an uproar and polarized Pine Bush High School in New York, forcing administrators to issue an apology to the community.

“We sincerely apologize to any students, staff or community members who found this activity offensive,” Pine Bush High School officials said in a letter they posted online. “In our school District the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.”

According to the Times Herald-Record, though, the public apology has only stoked the flames of controversy, as many students felt the reading was appropriate.

A student who supported the reading, senior Miranda Monroe, said she felt it was “wrong to discriminate; the whole thing is wrong.”

The controversy has “divided the school in half,” Superintendent Joan Carbone told the Times Herald-Record. She described the reading as “something that was supposed to be good but turned out not to be.”

Andrew Zink, Pine Bush’s senior class president, normally reads the morning announcements, and told NBC News that he consented when a teacher asked another student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. There were discussions about having the pledge read in Japanese, French and Spanish this week as well.

Zink, 18, said Thursday that he was “fired” from doing the morning announcements, but was not given a reason as to why.

“Even if I had said no to having it read in Arabic, they might have just done it anyways,” Zink told NBC. “But I chose to say yes because it was about making a point: What makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in,” he said, adding that he would “do it again.”



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