NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A popular patriotic tune has been pulled from the program at P.S. 90’s kindergarten graduation. Parents are furious that their 5-year-olds will not perform the classic.
Five-year-old Daniel Mitchell has been practicing the song for weeks in anticipation of a mile-stone at P.S. 90 — his kindergarten graduation.
And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” Daniel said.
However, the patriotic piece is now being banned at the ceremony and taken off the program.
The song that was initially said to be taken its place was “Baby” by teenage heart-throb Justin Bieber.
“I don’t feel like my daughter needs to be singing a Justin Bieber song when she’s in kindergarten,” parent Eternity Fiol told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
However, at a Monday afternoon news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond learned the school will not be singing the Bieber song.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond Hears From Chancellor Walcott
“I understand some of the issues that people raised, it’s my understanding that…song also will not be part of the moving up ceremony as well,” Walcott told Diamond, referring to the Justin Beiber song.
Kindergarten graduation is scheduled for next Wednesday and parents said they haven’t been getting any answers from teachers or administrators as to why “God Bless the USA” won’t be sung, as originally planned.
“If that’s the decision she made, she’s the principal and she’s going to make the best decision for the school,” parent Rachel Richards said.
Some are defending the decision, but other parents are blaming the last-minute switch on the principal, Greta Hawkins.
A Facebook page has even been launched calling for her termination.
The tension has even mounted into all-out threats against the principal, via hate mail.
Schools Chancellor Walcott is standing by the decision, saying there is plenty of patriotism with kids starting each school day with the “Pledge of Allegiance and “America the Beautiful.”
“All kids sing something that has to do with America. We are in the land of the free,” parent Heidi Rotondo said.
And these parents said the kids should be free to keep the time-honored tradition of singing “God Bless the USA” at graduation.
CBS 2 reached out to Principal Hawkins and the Department of Education, but neither returned calls for comment.
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