School Principal, Bans ‘God Bless The USA’ From Graduation Ceremony

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, in Brooklyn, New York, has refused to let students sing Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless The USA” at their moving-up ceremony.

The New York Post reports five classes at the elementary school spent months learning the patriotic song in anticipation of performing it at the ceremony, but Hawkins canceled the performance at a recent rehearsal.

It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags — which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.”

But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.

She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.

“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.

The curt edict stunned both staff and parents.

Later Hawkins received backing by the Department of Education. Their spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti said that she believed the lyrics were “too grown up” for five-year-olds. “The lyrics are not age-appropriate,” she said.

Hawkins was willing to allow the Justin Bieber song “Baby” to be performed at the June 20 commencement as a replacement.  Hawkins had no problem with 5-year-olds singing lines such as, “Are we an item? Girl, quit playing.”

Scaperotti noted that PS 90 kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “America the Beautiful” each morning. Insiders say Hawkins tried to end that tradition a couple years ago but staff objected.

This is not the first time that Ms. Hawkins has been called out.  Hawkins,  took the helm of the 80% minority school  in September of 2009.  Within a year, she came under investigation for allegedly calling her school “a racist building” because so few teachers are minorities.  According to teachers, Hawkins addressed the issue of race at a June 2010 meeting in the school auditorium, and many of her staff didn’t like what she said.

“This is a racist building,” Hawkins said at the meeting, according to teachers who took notes.

“You’re all used to white, Jewish principals who only hired whites. The school culture is going to change.”

Hawkins then vowed to hire more black teachers, according to teachers who were at the meeting.

“Many more [black teachers] are coming, but I will hire one white person,” Hawkins said, according to the teachers.

Staffers said racial tensions at the school are minimal, and Hawkins never mentioned the issue of race in any previous meetings.

One incident is bad.  Two incidents should cause parents and school officials to demand that Greta Hawkins be removed from her position and never have a part in the administration of any other school.

At a Monday morning news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reporters learned that the school will not be singing the Bieber song.

“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 said, referring to the Justin Beiber song.


One thought on “School Principal, Bans ‘God Bless The USA’ From Graduation Ceremony

  1. Yes I have been following this Greta Hawkins the principal from PS 90 elementary school in New York. Has anybody check into her background to see what kind of a child hood she had when she was growing up. Sounds to me like she had a abusive Childhood when she was growing up. I had the pledger of hearing Lee Greenwood song today and as I was listening to it it was bringing chills up and down spine and it also brought tears to my eyes. You see America at least we can do what we want. I am so so so so proud of Lee Greenwood for writing that song. What is Greta Hawkins thinking when she pulled that from the graduation cermonies. Is she really nuts? What did the 5 and 6 years old ever do to her. And the parents that are backing the principal up they don’t have no respect for their country either. Or for their own children. Is America really getting that bad where we have to fight each other just to get what we want. Does Greta Hawkins chancellor Walcott and the Mayor hate america this much that are backing her up? Please Brooklyn at your Next election vote your mayor and chancellor Walcott out of their jobs. And in the mean time fire Greta Hawkins where she can’t get a job no where in America as a teacher or a principal or anything that has to do with anything with education . As you can see Brooklyn she can’t be either one. Look at what she did to a sixth grader last week when she pop him in the mouth and was out cold for a minute saying he didn’t remember what happen. I am not calling him a liar but I will bet my last dollar that she told him if said anything that he wasn’t going to like what was going to happen to him. So quit naturally he is going to keep his mouth shut so would I if I was in his shoes. Who wouldn’t? Then telling kids that she wCill give them extra credit if they don’t go to bathroom all day long. That is when I would make sure my child would go to the bathroom in her clothes and I would take her some more clothes and take the dirty ones and go and run it in Greta Hawkins face. That principal is a bully herself and she know this and so does the Department of Education and don’t care. Correct me if I am wrong isn’t bully now against the Federal Law? Oh by the way the reason she hit the sixth in the mouth was because he was talking on his cell phone on his lunch break. If I am wrong close noon hour or open noon hour your noon is your time or it was when my girls was in school. But I live in Kansas and I am refering to the State of New York. It is hard to think that schools are getting bad. I guess you could say that good days are gone. But like I said earlier I am so so so proud of Mr. Lee Greenwood for writing the I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I just hope someday my grandkids will get the oppertunity to hear sung by one day either in person or on cd.

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