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Fort Collins students recite Pledge in Arabic

Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:33:41 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2013 12:33:50 PM CST
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FORT COLLINS -

A Fort Collins principal stands by his decision to allow students from a multicultural group to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic on the school's intercom.

"We do say the Pledge of Allegiance on Mondays at Rocky Mountain High School," principal Tom Lopez said.

Students have always said it in English. This year, a group with about 30 students approached Lopez with a request to translate and recite the pledge in other languages.

"They had to go through me for approval, and I reviewed it pretty carefully," Lopez said.

First, the students translated and read French. Then they recited the pledge in Spanish last fall. Monday, students read the pledge in Arabic.

"We have a tremendous amount of diversity in our school," Lopez said. "This is very American, not un-American."

The response has been mostly positive, said Lopez, though the calls and emails from upset parents have been very negative.

"I guess I'm getting worn down a little bit by how intense their sense of hate has been represented in some of the things they've written and said," Lopez said on Tuesday.

Lopez says Rocky Mountain High School is a place of inclusion.

"When they pledge allegiance to United States, that's exactly what they're saying -- they're just using another language as their vehicle," Lopez said.

He says it's likely the group will have other opportunities to recite the pledge in other languages, though he concedes it's a wise idea to recite the pledge in English that day as well.

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