Shortly after the Rhode Island ACLU successfully forced the removal of a prayer banner in a Cranston High School, area school districts appear to be self-censoring so as to avoid offenses that might bring the litigious eye their way. WPRO’s online content manager Dee DeQuattro highlights two examples within the past week.
The first comes from right over the border, in Bellingham, Massachusetts:
After sparking controversy the community the school decided to remove the song [“God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood] from the assembly all together. In a statement the school said the assembly will “maintain the focus on the original objective of sharing students’ knowledge of the U.S. States, and because of logistics, will not include any songs.”
The controversy appears not to have been “sparked” by the inclusion of the song, but by the school’s attempt to edit the lyrics to “we love the USA.”
The second incident comes from within Rhode Island, at Warwick’s Pilgrim High School:
A parent of a Pilgrim High School student who first reported the incident to WPRO’s John DePetro Show. The mural was meant to depict the life of a man and it ended with the scene with the man, woman and a child. The student artist, 17-year-old Liz Bierendy, said that she depicted the man and woman has married with wedding rings. According to Horoshack’s press release the scene was painted over because “some of the members of the Pilgrim High Schoolcommunity suggested that the depiction of a young man’s development from boyhood through adulthood as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many of the students at Pilgrim High School.”
All three controversies present a common theme: the erasure of America’s shared heritage so as not to offend. That aspects of the traditional culture (such as the nuclear — mother, father, children — family) were arguably critical components of the nation’s social health and progress appears not to merit consideration.
Since this post was written, both of the latter instances have been reversed. In Bellingham, parental outcry sparked a change of heart. In Warwick, response won the artist a choice of following her plans of changing it, and she chose the former.