The Brooklyn, N.Y. principal who decided to pull “God Bless the USA” from a kindergarten graduation program while keeping a Justin Bieber tune has axed the tween heartthrob from the line-up — but not changed her mind on the Lee Greenwood classic.
P.S. 90 principal Greta Hawkins prompted outrage earlier this week after teachers said she scrapped “God Bless the USA” because she didn’t “want to offend other cultures.” A Department of Education spokeswoman said Hawkins was actually concerned the song’s lyrics were too inappropriate for 5-year-olds — yet Bieber’s “Baby” was considered acceptable.
But on Tuesday, the New York Post reported Hawkins has reversed course on including Bieber as well.
“The principal has decided she’s not going to sing that song. It’s the principal’s decision, and we support the principals,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a press conference.
Both Bloomberg and New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott denied pressuring Hawkins to pull the song, insisting she had had a change of heart, according to the Post.
Greenwood has said he is offended by his song’s exclusion from the graduation program.
“I wrote ‘God Bless the USA’ about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free,” Greenwood said through his public relations firm, according to the Hollywood Reporter.”
“Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens. However, I feel compelled to echo the faith of our forefathers who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority. Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing ‘God Bless the USA’ offends me as a Christian. My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?” the statement said.