15-year-old Brenda Brinsdon, a sophomore at a high school in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, refused to participate when her Spanish 3 teacher assigned students to stand and recite the Mexican anthem. Her argument? That the lesson was "un-American."
The class in question took place on the week of Mexico's Independence Day -- and also the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Brenda said: "I feel that I did what's right... And I know what I did what's right [...] I'm going to stand my ground." Her father agreed, arguing that reciting a pledge to another nation should have no place in pubic schools. Brinsdon was given an alternate assignment to complete, and has now been pulled from the class entirely. The school district maintains that the lesson was appropriate.
The controversy, along with other comparable cases in public high schools around the country, has drawn attention to the issue of how patriotism should be involved in public school curriculums. In Texas public schools, students pledge allegiance to the United States and to the state of Texas. Earlier this month, the Michigan senate passed a bill requiring that all students in publics schools recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the U.S. each day. The bill also requires that public schools purchase a flag for each classroom. And last May in California, a group of high school students who wore American-flag T-shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo were required by their principal to turn the shirts inside out so that Hispanic students would not be offended. The case was taken to court, and the District Judge of San Francisco ruled earlier this month that the school had the right to make the students hide their shirts.
What do you think -- is it "un-American" to recite another country's anthem in a public school, or should the state be teaching students multiculturalism? Is there a place for patriotism in American public high schools? Sound off in the comments.