NY school apologises for reciting pledge in Arabic

2015-03-19 23:38

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Pine Bush - A school in upstate New York has apologised for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic after complaints from district residents who lost family members in the Afghanistan war.

The 31-word pledge to the US flag and republic was read in Arabic during Wednesday morning announcements at Pine Bush High School, located 105km northwest of New York City.

Some students were angered and responded with catcalls.

District Superintendent Joan Carbone told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown that the Arabic reading of the pledge has "divided the school in half", she told the newspaper.

The district said the school's foreign language department arranged to have the pledge recited in different languages for National Foreign Language Week, which was last week.

Andrew Zink, the senior class president, usually gives the morning announcements and recites the pledge. He said he allowed an Arabic-speaking student to handle the pledge duties on Wednesday.

"The intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country," the district said in its statement.

The principal made a building-wide announcement on Wednesday afternoon to explain the reading's context and apologise to students who took offence to its being recited in Arabic. In a statement posted on the district's website, officials said they apologised "to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful".

Carbone said the pledge will be read in English only from now on.

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