Under the guise of the now-popular American phrase "inclusion," student leaders—not school officials or the school district—at California High School in Ramon, California have banned our country's national anthem from being played at school events and rallies.
WND reported that the Associated Student Body at the San Francisco Bay area school has labeled "The Star-Spangled Banner" as "racist" and blacklisted the song traditionally played at sporting events because of a line in the third verse, which is rarely played. The line says, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave/from the terror of the flight or the gloom of the grave."
In an open letter to the school's newspaper, student Ariyana Kermanizadeh wrote, "It was brought to our attention that the national anthem's third verse is outdated and racially offensive," WND reported. "We had nothing but good intentions by removing the song so that we could be fully inclusive to our student body. This verse translated, find joy in the killing of African-Americans. To think our nation's anthem had the word slave and 'land of the free' in the same sentence leaves me speechless."
Many, if not perhaps the majority of Americans, do not know the words to the second and third verses of the national anthem, but Kermanizadeh says that is beside the point because those words "ruin" the whole song.
"This song was written in 1814," Kermanizadeh said. "This was written 204 years ago. Imagine all the traditions and laws that have changed ... and so must our traditions."
Amir Udler, a senior at California High School, told WND that the Associated Student Body's actions "disregard the sentiments of most of the students at the school."
"It comes from a very disrespectful place," Udler said. "The decision is disenfranchising the majority of the school who loves the country."
In November, CBS News reported the California chapter of the NAACP has been trying to push for the removal of the national anthem from the American landscape because they view it as racist and anti-black.
A website called yournews.com, produced a story regurgitating the California High School stories from national news organizations, but with the headline, "California Gov. Jerry Brown Bans 'Racist' National Anthem at Schools." The headline is unsubstantiated and nothing similar could be found on reputable news sites or the official website of the state of California, ca.gov.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fox News columnist Todd Starnes urged his radio listeners to contact the school board, asking, "Where are the grown-ups in charge of this school?"
WND reported that Dennis Florentinos, another senior, told local television station ABC-7, "The importance of singing the national anthem to honor and respect those that have died and sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms that us Americans take for granted every day is much more important than the 'unifying' issue."
Several news organizations, such as WND, have been told that the San Ramon Valley Unified School District is "looking into the decision" to ban the national anthem.
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
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