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‘God Bless the USA’ Banned From Kindergarten Graduation, Justin Bieber Is A-OK

Justin Bieber
Max Whittaker/Chris McGrath, Getty Images

For the past couple months, the kindergartners at Edna Cohen School in Coney Island, New York have been learning the Lee Greenwood patriotic classic ‘God Bless the USA.’ The 1984 song, which became popular again in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, was going to be part of the finale to their commencement on June 20th.

However, in a move that is said to have shocked staff and parents, Edna Cohen principal Greta Hawkins stormed into a rehearsal and asked that a CD playing the tune be turned off. According to sources in the school she then demanded the song be cut from the commencement program, saying that “We don’t want to offend other cultures.”

What makes this stance particularly odd is that the song had been used at previous school events, including the fifth grade commencement the year before.

A spokesman for the New York Department of Education gave a different explanation for why the Greenwood song was dropped in an interview with the New York Post, telling the paper Hawkins thought the lyrics were “too grown up” for five-year olds.

But that explanation has kicked up even more controversy because the Justin Bieber song ‘Baby’ will be performed at the very same kindergarten commencement, despite its themes of teen romance.

What do you think?  Is ‘God Bless The USA’ too adult for five-year-olds. For that matter, is Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ too grown up for the kindergarten set? You can listen to both songs below.

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