Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” has been banned from a kindergarten graduation. PS 90 principal Greta Hawkins pulled the song because it’s not “age appropriate” according to the NY Post. The song’s opening lyrics, If tomorrow all the things were gone/I’d worked for all my life/And I had to start again/with just my children and my wife, are the center of the controversy. Lee released a statement in response to the song being pulled.
“I wrote “God Bless the USA” about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free,” he said. “Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens. However, I feel compelled to echo the faith or our forefathers who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority. Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing “God Bless the USA,” offends me as a Christian. My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?”
To add to the controversy, Justin Bieber’s pop hit “Baby,” a song about teenage love, was kept on the playlist. Principal Hawkins’ decision is supported by City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
“It’s important to reinforce that they start out the morning every day of the school year with the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘America the Beautiful,’ and that, to me, is what this country is about, and they celebrate that, and that’s how we should start our day,” Walcott said. “You have to really wonder about some of the lyrics in the song, so I have to rely on the principal’s judgment along that line.”
Angry parents and teachers have created a Facebook page calling for Principal Hawkins to be removed from her position. Principal Hawkins has not commented on her decision to the media.