A principal bully

from the NYPost:

A controversial Coney Island principal has pulled the plug on patriotism.

Her refusal to let students sing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants.

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, won’t allow kindergartners to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-up ceremony.

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90

Five classes spent months learning the patriotic song, which skyrocketed in popularity after the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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.

“A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride,” said mom Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.

The song has been sung at previous school events. Last year’s fifth-graders, including another Lozada child, performed it at graduation.

“Everybody applauded and whistled,” the mom said. “They gave it a standing ovation.”

Parents — many immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico and Ecuador — “love it,” Lozada said.

A teacher agreed: “It makes them a little goosebumpy and teary-eyed. I’ve never come across anyone who felt it insulted their culture.”

Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti gave The Post an explanation staffers said they never heard — that Hawkins found the lyrics “too grown up” for 5-year-olds.

The song starts: “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, I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin’ here today.”

Scaperotti said the department supports the principal’s decision. “The lyrics are not age-appropriate,” she said.

But Justin Bieber’s flirty song about teen romance, “Baby,” was deemed a fine selection for the show. Hawkins had no problem with 5-year-olds singing lines such as, “Are we an item? Girl, quit playing.”

The other songs: “We’re All Together Again,” popular at Scout campfires; “The World is a Rainbow,” which celebrates diversity; “Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi; and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story.”

Scaperotti noted 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.

The principal, a Jehovah’s Witness, does not recite the pledge because her religion forbids followers to salute any nation’s flag. Staffers gripe she doesn’t stand in respect during the school-wide ritual.

The song uproar comes amid tensions. Hawkins has been called a tyrant and bully by some staffers.

The DOE reprimanded her in 2010 after teachers complained she called the school “racist” and declared: “I’m black. Your previous principal was white and Jewish. More of us are coming.”

Scaperotti said Hawkins is being targeted by the teachers union and has received hate mail, which is under investigation by the NYPD.

susan.edelman@nypost.com

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7 responses to “A principal bully

  • Warlock Asylum

    I agree. She was looking out for the intersts of her religion. Readers may enjoy this article on the subject:

    http://blustil.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/principal-greta-hawkins-and-chancellor-dennis-walcotts-decision-reveal-jehovahs-witnesses-nazi-agenda/

  • AFVET

    She has no right to do that.
    Where are the parents that pay her salary ?
    Where is their voice ?

  • Kujuboman

    This principle should be investigated for her possible association with perhaps the communist party. In addition to being investigated the school board should step in and put the song back into the school. As roxannadanna said “what culture is offended” if they are offended then leave America its that simple but don’t ask us to change your songs, our language, our culture to fit yours that you might have brought here. We are AMERICAN’s if you don’t like it leave and take this principle bully with you.

  • Danny Haszard

    Jehovah’s Witnesses and the flag salute.
    I was born into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1957.I was the good little JW boy who got beaten up in the school yard for not saluting the flag and remaining seated for the national anthem as demanded by my defiant Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders.
    This was the better dead than red era of the 1960’s, and a kid not doing the act stood out big.
    I suffered much,only to learn that the Watchtower corporation is just another made up man-made religion.
    My JW leaders *forced* *compelled* me NOT to salute the flag,I wasn’t given any option.If I wavered I would be severely punished by my parents and struck down by God at Armageddon.
    Kids suffer because of made-up rules by Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders,senile old holy men sequestered in their insulated ivory tower.
    My point is:Jehovah’s Witnesses claim ‘neutrality’ that is false as they DO try to force their convictions on others.
    –Danny Haszard FMI dannyhaszard(dot)com

    • roxannadanna

      I’m sorry for what you went through as a child. Kids can be so cruel sometimes.

      My personal experience with JW is a relative of mine. And as a Catholic, it’s like mixing oil with water… it can’t be done. Also, as far as I’m concerned, JW is a cult.

      But the reason I blamed this principal’s “religion” is because it IS the fact: the only entity that was offended by this song is her so-called religion. That song is contrary to her faith beliefs so she decided to put the kabosh on it. This is not about offending families or other cultures. This is all about offending HER beliefs and that’s simply not fair to those kids and their families.

      You read her say that her predecessor was a “white Jew.” Did that white Jew try to hinder these kid’s Christmas celebrations? I’m sure not. But this current principal will do her best to thwart these children’s celebrations because of her own misguided beliefs.

  • Conservatives on Fire

    I read a Fox News story on this. This is asinine! This is America andwe have a culture. If people from other cultures come here and are offended by OUR culture they can go back where they came from!

    • roxannadanna

      Absolutely! That was my question: What culture is offended by this song? And why?
      Shoot me for saying this but the “culture” that was offended was the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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