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Gazette Premium Content EDITORIAL: School administrators tried to quash day to celebrate America

The Gazette editorial Updated: February 5, 2014 at 8:27 am

Don't celebrate the United States in a public school. Doing so might offend immigrants. That's what administrators reportedly told students at one of Colorado's major high schools before the public found out and damage control began.

The Gazette supports smart immigration policies and politicians. A long written record attests to this fact. Our country was built on immigration and relies on immigrants to maintain a replacement fertility rate that is vital to economic stability.

Whether most Americans get it or not, their pensions rely on growing immigration. The economic futures of their children and grandchildren rely on abundant immigration. Growth of American property values relies on immigration.

Some of our country's greatest achievers and job creators came here from other countries. So The Gazette favors laws that allow illegal immigrants brought here as children to enjoy in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. We encourage Americans to learn foreign languages. We want sensible immigration reform that creates opportunity for more legal immigration after tightly securing the border.

Speaking from a pro-immigrant point of view, The Gazette takes offense to an initial decision by Fort Collins High School to ban a celebration of the United States.

Fort Collins students and parents went public to explain how the school's administration rejected a student-organized proposal for "Merica Monday," as part of Winter Spirit Week, because the declaration might offend people here from other countries.

After the rejection, students regrouped and proposed "My Country Monday." That idea was also rejected. Administrators backtracked on the "My Country Monday" idea after media began calling and eventually came full circle to approve "America Day."

A spokesman for the school district confirmed "Merica Monday" was rejected. A statement said "My Country Monday" would allow international students to showcase pride in "their country of origin."

That's nice. We wouldn't want American children, or students who came here to enjoy the privileges and opportunities of the world's most generous country, to concentrate one day of respect and appreciation on the United States during a week devoted to "spirit." Never mind the fact that the school sponsors Cinco de Mayo to celebrate a worthy Mexican tradition.

The administration's original rejection of patriotism should insult all immigrants. We have to believe foreign residents would race to leave if they didn't share a belief this country warranted admiration. We sincerely doubt so many foreigners would risk their lives sneaking into the United States if they found the country so offensive.

Shame on Fort Collins High School administrators. School board members should immediately demand answers and instruct their employees to never undermine patriotic expressions by any students.

They should do so because this country has been open and welcoming to the world's tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to live free. They should do so because students deserve more than "PJ Day" and "Twin Day" during Winter Spirit Week. They should do so because American schools rightly and routinely celebrate traditions of other countries. They should do so because the United States remains the greatest country on Earth, as witnessed by the diversity of people who fight for the privilege to live here.

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