Should the Pledge of Allegiance be said only in English? That was the issue raised by parents of Rocky Mountain High School, which recites the Pledge of Allegiance once a week and on one Monday at the end of January. A member of the Cultural Arms Club led the student body in an Arabic version of the pledge and “One nation under God, became ” أمة واحدة تحت الل.”
This wasn’t the first time the Cultural Arms Club recited the pledge in a different language. Back in November, the club which seeks to “destroy the barriers” and “embrace the cultures” that exist within the community and the school, recited the Pledge in Spanish. That sparked an intense debate over whether saying the words in any language other than English was unpatriotic.
Tom Lopez, the principal at Rocky Mountain High, which is in Fort Collins, told Fox News he has received a number of telephone calls and emails from outraged parents – but that he stands by his decision.
“These students love this country,” he said. “They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.”
The club received rude comments from their November recital and anticipated “resistance” for the Arabic version but they went ahead anyway. They have plans for translating it into American Sign Language, Korean and possibly Chinese.
Danielle Clark, communications director of the Poudre School District, said administrators understand why parents are upset.
“We understand not everybody would agree with the students’ choice,” she told Fox News. “We’ve heard there are some who are upset.”
On the other hand, she said she received one email from a person who “thought it was a great thing.”
While some have claimed the outrage was the result of Islamophobia, letters to the local paper focused on the belief that the pledge should be recited in English:
“As a veteran and a friend of a man killed defending these children in their little games they like to play with our pledge, I’m offended,” wrote Chris Wells on the Daily Coloradoan. “There are things that we don’t mess with – among them are the pledge and our anthem.”
“If they wish to adapt the country as their own, then they need to learn the language and start speaking it as their first language,” wrote another reader.