Update: Principal flips in record time. See update below.
School administrators in Fort Collins, Colo., nixed a student-proposed day of celebrating American heritage during Spirit Week, afraid the red-white-and-blue celebration would offend students from other countries.
Juniors at Fort Collins High School proposed ‘Merica Monday to kick off a week of fun-themed days leading up to Valentine’s Day, but school officials worried that international students would feel excluded.
Students then proposed a compromise called My Country Monday to allow students to honor any country they like, but that too was originally rejected, according to an account of events reported Monday by Fox News.
Once the ban on American patriotism began attracting the attention of the media, the school quickly backpedaled, Fox reported, and allowed My Country Monday to go forward.
But the about-face was too late to avoid criticism on the school’s Facebook page, where officials were blasted for rejecting the first proposal. Commenters called administrators hypocritical for having students celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but banning a similar day to honor America.
“Cannot believe this school rejected the students’ request to celebrate America during spirit week,” wrote Molly Yates Hylton. “Since when is it offensive to celebrate your own country? Our military is fighting for our freedom and yet everyday something else is taken away due to ‘offending’ someone else that was allowed to enter our country because they too wanted freedom! Stop being ignorant and stop OFFENDING United States citizens!!”
“I served in the US Army for you yahoos?” wrote Craig Washburn. “You all should move to North Korea and enjoy their rights there, at least they hold their flag up.”
Principal Mark Eversole and Poudre School District spokeswoman Danielle Clark did not immediately reply to an email from The Daily Caller News Foundation seeking comment.
But Clark said in a statement Monday night to the Fort Collins Coloradoan that school officials thought ‘Merica Monday was incompatible with Spirit Week’s other themed days, such as allowing students to wear pajamas or dress like twins.
“I can see both sides, but I think it’s kind of absurd that we can’t celebrate the country we’re in — whether you’re from it or just visiting. It’s a country,” Ellie Goodspeed, a Fort Collins High School senior told the Coloradoan.
Update: Facing protesters with American flags in the street, outrage online and the growing attention of the media, Fort Collins High School principal Mark Eversole announced Tuesday morning that the first day of Spirit Week — with the theme “Spread the Love” — will officially be “America Day.” In an email to parents, he characterized the flap as a big misunderstanding. He said he was opposed to using the slang term ‘Merica, but has no beef with the red, white and blue.
“We were surprised that our community interpreted our actions as anti-American,” he wrote in the email, as reported in the Coloradoan. “We are a proud public school in America and support many activities to celebrate our great nation. Due to this outpouring of sentiment and misinterpretation of our intentions, we have decided to rename the first day of Spread the Love week to America Day, as opposed to ‘Merica Day.”
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