When I first saw this story I thought, there goes another teenager causing problems for his classmates in school. Then to my dismay it turns out to be something much different.
It seems that the students at Capital High School in Charleston, WV has been requiring students to participate in what Clinton H. Giles – Principal of Capital High School (CHS), calls the Friday morning observance. During the “observance” the students were expected to respectfully stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a tribute to African-Americans. What has bothered some parents of students attending CHS is the requirement to stand for what has been called the “other anthem”. Students were told that if they did not stand that they would be sent to visit Mr. Giles and obviously expect to receive some sort of discipline.
Take a listen to the “other anthem”.
Now according to United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, the National anthem is defined as the composition consisting of the words and music known as The Star-Spangled Banner is designated the national anthem of the United States of America. And also according to the code a person is to follow the following conduct;
Conduct during playing
During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.
The code also specifies conduct for the Pledge of Allegiance as follows;
Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, ‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.
I searched the code thoroughly and guess what….. I found NO references to the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. So what message was Mr Giles sending by having the students stand for what is quite obvious an anthem to a favored group whom the principle holds allegiance towards. This is not what is passing for lessons in American citizenship in today’s schools, is it? The tribute anthem to African-Americans deals with the plight that is the siren song of Black America. But what if the principle was of Jewish descent. Would having the students respectfully stand for “Wait for me, Thessaloniki” because it sings the story of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, would that be justified? Just what was your goal Mr Giles?
It was fortunate that you revised the policy after a conversation with Kanawha County, W.Va., school Superintendent Ron Duerring. The policy now calls for students to “stand, or sit silently” as the U.S. national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is played over school public address systems.
But what have you taught your students about American citizenship? Here’s what you are teaching them…. that if they don’t respect their Nation’s National Anthem or the don’t want to show their allegiance to the symbol of their Nation, they can show disrespect and sit down. In direct violation of U.S. Code. So when these student fail to show others respect and disrespect other customs of our Nation they can be allowed to not participate. So they get an early start in picking and choosing the laws and customs to obey and which ones that they can ignore. But hey I don’t have the following credentials to fall back on when parents ask why Johnny doesn’t give a crap about authority figures or basic American traditions.
Clinton H. Giles – Principal of Capital High School
Education: B.S. Secondary Education (Physical Education & Social Studies)
M.S. School Physical Education
M.A. Educational Administration – Secondary
B.S. Secondary Education (Physical Education & Social Studies)
Sure glad you had some help coming to your senses on this one….