Brad Watson, WFAA (Dallas), November 21, 2011
Every day students in Texas public schools pledge allegiance to the flags of the United States and Texas.
But when a teacher in a Rio Grande Valley high school assigned students to stand and pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag and sing Mexico’s national anthem, one student refused.
The resulting controversy has one East Texas lawmaker wanting changes in the state’s curriculum on how culture and patriotism are taught in schools.
15-year-old Brenda Brinsdon entered her sophomore year at McAllen ISD’s Achieve Early College High School just wanting to do well in her classes.
Brinsdon said she stood her ground by staying seated when first-year Spanish 3 teacher Reyna Santos assigned her class to stand and recite Mexico’s pledge of allegiance.
Students stood with right arms straight out and palms down, which is how the school district says Mexicans say their pledge.
Calling the lesson “un-American,” Brinsdon recorded the class, which occurred the week of Mexico’s Independence Day and also the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The teacher also told students to memorize and recite the the pledge individually.
And when the time came for the part of the assignment to sing Mexico’s national anthem, Brinsdon again refused.
This Spanish class assignment, Brenda Brisdon’s refusal and the school district’s response caused a firestorm on the right.
Conservative websites erupted, getting the attention of Republican State Representative Dan Flynn of Canton.
“It was a shock to me,” he said.
Flynn said since the state allows that much discretion, he’ll file a bill again to require more mandatory studies on the U.S. Constitution.
“I do have a problem if we’re making that the assignment for young people to stand up and pledge to another country,” Flynn said. “It lessens the value of the pledge to the United States flag.”
Brinsdon said she’s been pulled from Santos’ class and gets her lessons separately now. Despite the controversy, she has no regrets.
“I really hope that I was an inspiration to a lot of youth in America to stand up for what’s right,” Brinsdon said.