Posted on November 28, 2005

Why Son Refused to Stand

Courier News (Chicago), Nov. 25

I am the father of the young man who did not stand for the singing of the Mexican national anthem during a cultural awareness program at Larkin High School.

I have been constantly asked to explain the details of the event, and it is in response to these individuals that I offer the following facts.

Some of the students, my son included, were compelled to attend this assembly. The Mexican national anthem was printed on fliers and handed out to the attending students. The Mexican flag was marched in and placed on a podium by itself. The attendees were then asked to stand and sing the Mexican national anthem.

My son was not alone in his refusal to stand. Statements given to me by other youths and parents put the number of refusals at close to 20.

Larkin staff members immediately confronted the seated youth. Some of the students were threatened with in-school suspension; most of the seated students were intimidated into standing.

My son explained to the angry teacher who confronted him that he did not see a U.S. flag on the podium and he did not believe they were going to sing our national anthem. This teacher stated, “They have to stand for our national anthem, so you have to stand for theirs.”

My son stated in response, “Yeah, but they’re in our country.”

The teacher called my son a punk and sent him to the office. The administrator in the office supported the teacher’s demand and told my son that he could have made a more intelligent decision. My son was not formally disciplined. The teacher who confronted my son defended her actions to her students during class the following week.