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10-24-2005, 07:42 AM
Student who sat for Mexican Anthem rebuked
Enlistee-to-be feared honoring another nation might jeopardize military status

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Posted: October 7, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern



2005 WorldNetDaily.com

A high-school senior who stayed seated during the playing of the Mexican National Anthem at a campus ceremony fearing if he stood he might jeopardize his upcoming enlistment in the U.S. military was reprimanded and sent to the school office.

The 17-year-old son of Robert Bedard of Elgin, Ill., a Chicago suburb, made the choice to stay seated during a ceremony honoring Mexican Independence Day at Larkin High School last month, the Daily Herald reported.

Bedard says his son was in the process of enlisting in the military and feared honoring another nation's anthem might jeopardize his status.

The boy's father, a lieutenant with the Elgin Fire Department, questioned how far cultural sensitivity has gone in his local schools.

"I am concerned that the Mexican Americans have unfairly monopolized the teaching of cultural awareness at this school," Bedard told the suburban paper. "At least that's the perspective of a parent. I'd love to be corrected."

According to the report, Latino students orchestrated an assembly for Mexican Independence Day, just as black students host an assembly commemorating black history month in February.

School board President Ken Kaczynski defended the celebration of different cultures.

"If we were teaching one culture's history over another, then we have an issue. But I don't think that's the case," Kaczynski said.

Last spring, a Larkin student wrote an essay lamenting the celebration of Mexican holidays in American schools, the Herald reported.

The teen faulted Mexican students, saying they shouldn't have lowered the American flag in favor of a Mexican flag on Sept. 16, 2004. School officials later said the American flag was raised again before class began.

"Of the ethnic groups at Larkin," Principal Richard Webb is quoted as saying, "the Hispanic group is growing at the most increased rate, and of that Hispanic group, the vast majority of students are Mexican-American."

Of the 2,550 students at Larkin High last year, 38.4 percent were Hispanic and nearly a quarter were new to English.

"If they have an assembly, I would be happy if they will not try to force students to honor patriotic elements of another culture unless they also honor our flag, our anthem as well," Bedard said. "It's just respect for both cultures."