California High (Photo: San Ramon Valley Unified School District)
Student leaders at a California high school have banned America’s “outdated and racially offensive” national anthem from being played at school rallies.
The Associated Student Body at California High School in San Ramon, in the San Francisco Bay Area, blacklisted “The Star-Spangled Banner” over a third verse that is rarely ever played.
“It was brought to our attention that the national anthem’s third verse is outdated and racially offensive,” wrote Ariyana Kermanizadeh in an open letter. “We had nothing but good intentions by removing the song so that we could be fully inclusive to our student body.”
The verse in questions includes the line “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the Terror of the flight or the gloom of the grave.”
Kermanizadeh wrote: “This verse translated, finds joy in the killing of African-Americans. To think that our nation’s anthem once had the word slave and ‘land of the free’ in the same sentence leaves me speechless.”
Even though most schools never play that verse, and few Americans even know those lyrics, Kermanizadeh said that’s beside the point. The whole song is ruined by them.
“We understand that this third verse is not included when the anthem is performed, but still, what does this tell us?” she asked.
“[T]his song was written in 1814,” Kermanizadeh said. “This was written 204 years ago. Imagine all the traditions and laws that have changed … [and] so must our traditions.”
Concerned individuals may contact the San Ramon Valley Unified School District at (925) 552-5500 or by emailing or calling board members.
But Amir Udler, a senior at the school, isn’t having it. Udler told the California, which was first to report the story, that the decision is disregarding the sentiments of most of the students at the school.
“It comes from a very disrespectful place,” he said. “[The decision] is disenfranchising the majority of the school who loves the country.”
Fox News opinion columnist Todd Starnes urges his listeners to contact the school board. He asked, “Where are the brown-ups in charge of this school?”
“The Star Spangled Banner may have survivied the bombs bursting in air, but it may not be able to withstand the rampaging mob of politically incorrect inclusivists,” Starnes wrote.
Dennis Florentinos, a senior at the school, said on Starnes’ radio show that there’s been “a lot of pushback on the removal of the anthem – and not just from conservatives.”
He told ABC-7: “The importance of singing the national anthem to honor and respect those that have died and sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms that us Americans take for granted every day is much more important than the ‘unifying’ issue.”
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District told news organizations it is looking into the decision to ban the national anthem.