Singing of Mexican National Anthem required in Texas High School class

| February 28, 2013


This is actually an update to a story that started over a year ago.  You might remember it from some of the TV coverage at the time, but in case you don’t, here is one story about it:

So, the girl was supposed to say the Mexican pledge, and sing the Mexican National Anthem.  She didn’t, and failed.  She has now filed suit, and I will address that below, but about the pledge and anthem, there are two things that deserve note.

Regarding the pledge, it is interesting to note that had this girl been required to salute the US Flag and do the pledge, this would have been unquestionably unconstitutional.  In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624(1943) that compulsory requirements to pledge to the flag by school children violated the first Amendment.  It’s astonishing to me that this school district somehow thought that a compulsory pledge to another flag would somehow by just fine.  Further, as my friend Dr. John Fonte noted in a November 2005 piece entitled “Dual Allegiance: A Challenge to Immigration Reform and Patriotic Assimilation“:

Dual allegiance is incompatible with the moral basis of American constitutional democracy because 1) Dual allegiance challenges our core foundation as a civic nation (built on political loyalty) by promoting an ethnic and racial basis for allegiance and, thus, subverts our “nation of (assimilated) immigrants” ethic; and 2) Dual allegiance violates the core American principle of equality of citizenship.

So the pledge is bad.  Arguably worse though is the Mexican National Anthem, which contains in the First and Fith stanzas these lines:

But if some enemy outlander should dare to profane your ground with his sole, think, oh beloved Fatherland!, that heaven has given you a soldier in every son….War, war without quarter to any who dare to tarnish the coats of arms of the country! War, war! Let the national banners be soaked in waves of blood. War, war! In the mountain, in the valley, let the cannons thunder in horrid unison and may the sonorous echoes resound with cries of Union! Liberty!

Now, I have no big problem with the martial nature of the lyrics, since our National Anthem is not especially peace-like either.  But then again, we don’t force British folk to sing our national anthem. The Mexican National Anthem was written in 1854, and all the stuff about war is a direct reference to the battles they had just held with the Americans.  So basically this Texas high school, whose inclusion into the United States is what started this war in the first place, is requiring this young lady to sing a song which glorifies the killing of 13,283 US Citizens.  That to me is unconscionable.  (If you want to learn more about that war, I recommend to you Jeff Shaara’s Gone for Soldiers which I happened to be rereading just as this story came out again.)

So flash forward to yesterday when an excellent piece by Todd Starnes of FoxNews noted that the young lady had filed suit against the school:

A Texas high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against her school and her teachers after she was punished for refusing to salute and recite the Mexican pledge of allegiance.

The Thomas More Law Center filed the suit on behalf of Brenda Brinsdon alleging the McAllen Independent School District violated the 15-year-old girl’s constitutional rights when she was forced to recite the Mexican pledge and sing the Mexican national anthem.

Click here to read the lawsuit.

Brinsdon, who is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and an American father, refused. She believed it was un-American to pledge a loyalty oath to another country.

I can’t even begin to imagine what this school was thinking.  They did offer her an alternative, to write a 1/2 page paper on a subject in Spanish.  She did that and received an F.  I’m honestly REALLY looking forward to seeing the School District’s response to this suit.  (Legal response that is.)  On what possible basis can they defend?

The complaint is fairly interesting reading if you are a law geek like me.  It notes:

This case seeks to protect and vindicate fundamental constitutional rights. It is a civil rights action brought under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging Defendants’ acts, policies, practices, customs, and/or procedures, which deprived Plaintiff B.B. of her right to freedom of speech and the equal protection of the law by discriminating against her because of her viewpoint on the issue of being forced to pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag. These acts, policies, practices, customs, and/or procedures also infringe the constitutional rights of other students in the school district, including Plaintiff B.B., by chilling the exercise of their right to freedom of speech.

And here’s where the people of Texas get to be even more outraged……Taxpayers there will get to pay for the School District’s lawyers, the lawyers for the young lady, and any damages that are levied as a result.  Any time a governmental entity (like the school district) loses a case brought under § 1983, the city will end up paying for both lawyers if the petitioner wins. 

Now, this particular provision (the fee shifting) has been targetted by The American Legion before, largely for it’s somewhat nefarious use in trying to bully cities into excising from public view all religious symbols.  (For example, a California City whose crest had a cross atop a historical church ended up having to drill holes in the crest on police cars to avoid paying the ACLU gobs of money.)  During a discussion in Congress regarding the Public Expression of Religion Act in 2006, Congressman Chabot of Ohio noted:

PERA amends 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1988 to prevent the use of the legal system in a manner that extorts money from State and local governments and inhibits their constitutional actions.  Federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1983 is the statute that allows people to sue State and local governments for alleged constitutional violations of their individual rights. Federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1988 is the Federal fee-shifting statute that allows prevailing plaintiffs in lawsuits filed under 1983 to be awarded attorney’s fees from the defendant. And the defendant in that case would generally be a governmental entity.

Because of these laws, the threat of litigation against State and local officials alleging that they have violated the Establishment Clause often forces States and localities to cave to demands to remove even the smallest religious references on public property. Most localities do not have the money to pay for not only their own, but also the plaintiff’s, attorney’s fees if they receive an adverse judgment. And Establishment Clause case law is oftentimes so confusing and the outcome in these cases so unpredictable that it is virtually impossible for a locality to foresee the outcome in any given case.

PERA will level the playing field against groups such as the ACLU who have won millions of dollars in attorney’s fees while extorting State and local governments into suppressing the religious speech and free exercise of religion of private individuals, for example, tearing down veterans’ memorials that happen to have religious symbols on them, removing the Ten Commandments from public buildings, booting the Boy Scouts off public property, or blotting out crosses from official county seals. This happened in California.

So that’s where we stand.  A school failed a girl for refusing to sing the Mexican National Anthem and say the pledge to a foreign flag, and now if (or when) she wins, it will be the taxpayers on the hook for an idiotic decision by a school board in not trying to settle this.  Anyone know where the ACLU stands on this one?  I would hope they would support the young lady, but I don’t see any mention of it anywhere in the news.

Only in America, eh?


Category: Politics

Comments (44)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Do not expect the ACLU to support her, TSO. They only rarely seem to support conservative individuals whose rights are getting infringed by libidiots in charge. And they virtually never support anyone who resists “inclusiveness”, even when it’s forced down their throat by violating their Constitutional rights.

  2. JA says:

    Question: Was she required to do this as a test of her Spanish Language skills for a Spanish Class?

    If yes: well that is a valid test of knowledge and not requiring her to take an oath or profess a view. I’ve seen DLA classes at Monterrey sing the Internationale (Soviet Anthem). We can require students to do all sorts of things they don’t necessarilly agree with under many circumstances. Imagine a Biology Paper that just said, “Because God made it that way” instead of explaining an evolutionary process. It would and should get an F.
    If No: well she has a great case in that case.

  3. TSO says:

    I don’t think that analysis works though JA.

    What if for instance then, instead of requiring the pledge of allegiance before class (as has been outlawed by the Supremes) we instead included it in Civics classes. Would it be okay to fail a kid in a civics class for failing to recite the pledge of allegiance?

    I just don’t see how our pledge of allegiance can be countermanded on First Amendment grounds, and yet another nations could not. I’m not sure I see a distinction in law there.

  4. TSO says:

    BTW- The military is of course also a different animal.

  5. TSO says:

    Also, on the DLA side, that would seem to be a function of a job. For instance, I don’t think someone hired by the BUffalo Sabers to sing the Canadian anthem before a game against the Cannucks could escape termination for failing to sing the song on the grounds of first amendment. But school attendance is mandatory, whereas employment as a anthem singer is not.

  6. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    First: Holy Friggin’ Mexican Jumping Beans … this pisses me off to no end. Clearly this was not a Spanish class … it was an indoctrination class!

    Second: Brenda Brinsdon is a champion and should be celebrated for courage to do what was right against what was most definately wrong.

    PS: I don’t give a rats ass if the school is 100% Mexican-America or illegal immigrant American (or what ever they call it this week). This is the United States of America. Here we have one pledge of allegiance and one national anthem.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    But you haven’t asked the obvious question: Why is the Mexican pledge of allegiance taking precedence over the American pledge of allegiancea? Why the Mexican national anthem instead of the American national anthem?

    Has that particular part of Texas been sold back to Mexico and nobody told us?

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    This occurred in a Spanish class. One would expect that the Spanish National Anthem would be recited, if anything. If the class were one focused on Mexico, or even a survey course on Spanish-speaking nations, I could get there from here. If anyone thinks that Spanish is a singular language or that Mexico may as well be Spain, that’s a fail x 2. I saw the video taken by the girl in school. The recitation was replete with STANDING (and the purpose of that, please?) and a Nazi-like salute (same questions).

  9. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    Oh one other thing:

    My son goes to one of the best Catholic Schools in NYC.

    Dylan and his bright red hair are in the minority. He goes to school with a very diverse group … and it is all good.

    And there is one special thing I certainly enjoy and fully support:

    Every morning … everyone (regardless of where they originally came from) say their prayers, stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance (of the unites States of America), and sing:

    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    And on other occasions they might sing other patriotic songs (about the United States of America) as well.

    This is why my son goes to private school!

  10. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    The odd part is they offered an alternative, so it seems they understood they were on shaky ground. But then they failed her anyway on the alternative. Giving her a D would have made more sense, hard to argue with an assessment that the written paper wasn’t all that great. Now they’ve made it seem the understood there was a problem of their own creation and offered a simple face saving gesture and still created the outcome they wanted for her refusal in the first place.

    If the paper is in Spanish, and is reasonably considered to be grammatically correct failing her seems vindictive which is where I suspect this is headed when they get to court.

    I’m not surprised at all by anything regarding public schools these days, when my daughter was in grammar school years ago she wrote a holiday piece on a Christmas book, she was not allowed to read it aloud in class due to its Christian subject matter, but her classmate who wrote about Kwansaa was allowed to read their paper out loud. There were many people in that elementary school who did not think favorably of me afterwards. I made clear my feelings at the next school board meeting as well as the town meeting when the school board was requesting additional funds for “diversity” education, I asked why the diversity favored one historical holiday over another….and since it showed favoritism I could see no reason to allocate any additional taxpayer monies on such a biased program…they did not get the money and some folks in that town are still p1ssed off at me today 18 years later.

  11. Mitch says:

    Even if it were for a class, they should still allow an alternative to the Mexican National Anthem. For example, in high school biology when I took it, if you had objections to dissecting frogs, you got to instead draw a map of an animal’s organ systems based on pictures in the textbook. Even if it were for a class, no student should pledge allegance to a foreign flag.

  12. OWB says:

    Being stupid apparently is an American right. Acting stupid may not be. Forcing others to act stupid definitely is not.

  13. A Proud Infidel says:

    @10, KUDOS, VOV! We need to stand up and FIGHT this “Celebrate Diversity” PC crap more often!

  14. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 12 …. what you just articulated should be proposed for law.

    It is simple and applicable!

  15. NHSparky says:

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant. I’m wondering if anyone has ever broken the sound barrier while backpedaling, because we might just see the first instance of it here.

  16. Cacti35 says:

    I’m just trying to imagine that Mexican national anthem sounding like Mariachi music.

  17. NHSparky says:

    Anyone who lives in SoCal probably knows it better than the Star Spangled Banner.

  18. Mitch says:

    @17, no one in SoCal can probably get the whole Star Spangled Banner right

  19. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @18 There’s a fair amount of idiots in the Northeast who struggle with it as well.

  20. Just an Old Dog says:

    The school is full of shit. Teaching about the Flag of Mexico and making students familiar with it’s national Anthem is not a problem, Having students actually stand, face the flag and recite it is pure bullshit. It would be like someone teaching a college class on Catholicism making students get on their knees and recite the rosary in order to pass. Or a college course on “Human Sexuality” make you suck a schlong to demonstrate you grasp the concept of homosexuality. I hope the Student wins big time and the school gets slammed bigtime

  21. Common Sense says:

    I took German in high school and college, my daughter took 6 years of French, and my son took 4 years of Spanish. Not once in any of those classes was reciting the country of origin’s pledge or anthem used in a lesson.

    I highly recommend all of Jeff Shaara’s books, they are riveting and I learned far more from them than I ever did in a history class. He makes history come alive. My favorites were Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious Cause, about the American Revolution but that’s only because it’s my favorite time period in history, all of the others are equally as good.

  22. obsidian says:

    The terminal phase of the Obama/democrats deconstruction of the United States will involve returning land stolen (in liberal eyes) from their rightful owners(in liberal eyes) I expect Texas New Mexico and California will become Mexico again, whether Texan’s want it or not. Louisiana goes back to the French as well as every piece of land bought from them.
    Oregon, Washington state and others that belonged to Britain reverts back to Canada and Alaska is scheduled to once again be Russian. All this is the plan of the liberal left to destroy the US as it is today and revert back to an early time where America could not drag the world into wars for political, financial and republican reasons, weakened military and economy wise The US will have repaid the world for it’s sin’s.
    The first step is making a legitimate case for the Sudetenland, I mean Texas going back to Mexico The main reason appears to be because George Bush was elected for POTUS twice and Texas needs punishing for that crime.
    The Mexican flag, anthem and pledge will over ride and supersede the ones for the US.
    Think I’m crazy? Maybe, but the liberal democrats are Crazy.
    Ask a democrat/liberal if Mexico deserves to get it’s land back and see what’s spewed out.

  23. Luke says:

    This was an assignment in her *Spanish class*. She wasn’t pledging (or being asked to pledge) actual allegiance to the Mexican flag. It was a damned school assignment – FOR HER SPANISH CLASS – she refused, thereby not doing the assignment. They allowed her an alternative, which she refused. Sounds like she didn’t do any work and received a F. Makes sense to me. What is so hard to understand about this? Only in Texas.

  24. Richard says:

    Thinking out loud … apparently the teacher thought that this was a good idea and there were other people in the class who had no problem with it. Does their oath mean anything to them? Does it mean that there are a bunch of kids in Texas schools with divided loyalty or who are loyal to Mexico? Or, if they swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, can we trust them? I wonder what the teacher thought the oath meant and why it was important to get the kids to stand up and say it?

  25. TSO says:

    Luke- If that is the case, why then the raising of the hand in salute? Does one raise a hand in salute in a different dialect? Is the raising of the hand intrinsic to learning Spanish?

    Again, how do you propose to square the circle that compulsory recitation of the US oath is unconstitutional, but the compulsory recitation of a foreign one is constitutional?

  26. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 23 Luke

    She was TOLD and or instructed to recite the pledge of allegiance and national anthem of Mexico.

    BTW: by virtue of the act of recital, one does pledge … that is the point of a pledge. If you don’t beleive it … you don’t recite it!

    She refused both and she was right.

    Perhaps … they all should have been TOLD to recite the pleadge of allegiance and national anthem of the USA in Spanish.

    Ah … you can not do that in public schools in the good ole’ USA.

    Luke … so would you recite the pledge of allegiance and national anthem of Mexico if told or instructed to do so in a public school … in any language (English, French, Spanish, Latin)?

  27. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ TSO … good observation. The salute kinda seals the deal.

    In fact we, in the good ole’ USA, dropped the “Bellamy Salute” along time ago because it closely resembled the Italian and Nazi facist salute.

    In other words … in the USA we don’t salute during our pledge nor do we recite pledges of other countries.


    *** END! ***

  28. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    BTW … if you guys are trying to really piss me off today with this issue … OK … I am pissed off today!

    You have succeeded!

  29. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 22 … You forgot the land for the Irish … where is it … I need some land for my secret “Bug Out” location!

  30. Foxbat40 says:

    This was a Spanish class not a Mexico class. When I was taking spanish most of our studies were done on other spanish peaking South American countries to avoide the conflict with some students who may have been of Mexican descent (but did not speak spanish). Also taking a school trip to a country where 55,000 people were killed last year wouldn’t have been a good Idea.

    We did have a trip to Brazil.

    Why didn’t they give her the option of saying the US pledge of allegiance in spanish. Or here is a thought, stayed away from othes entirely.

  31. Anonymous says:

    @20 owes me a keyboard!

  32. USMCE8Ret says:

    Blame it on CSCOPE, the new curriculum introduced by the Texas Department of Education. It’s causing quite a stir because of the anti-American rhetoric behind it.

    Beyond that, McAllen votes largely on the democratic ticket -so that should explain why the wheels are falling off (the teachers are embracing this nonsense because they believe in it). A lot of conservative families throughout the state are really pissed off about it, too.

  33. Tman says:


  34. FatCircles0311 says:

    Reminds me of having to salute during the national anthem of Japan on a United States Marine Corps base every day. I thought we won……

  35. Ooid says:

    So…if I was studying Urdu in high school, would that make it okay for the instructor to REQUIRE I perform the Pakistani equivalent of a pledge of allegiance to pass the class? Not just read it to study in class, not just read it out loud or listen to a recording…stand the hell up…pop a salute…and recite a pledge of allegiance for a nation I would NEVER pledge allegiance to? To some people these are not just words or meaningless actions…some people are not ashamed of their American heritage.

    F**k! So it’s a Spanish class…are they going to recite Span’s pledge of allegiance? What about a different Spanish speaking nation’s pledge of allegiance? What sort of bull***t is this? This isn’t “we have a chubby for Mexico” class…IT’S SPANISH CLASS! The girl in question is f**king fluent in Spanish for crying out loud…ISN’T THAT THE POINT?

    How about a religious diversity class forcing their students to recite the Koran? What about the Christian profession of faith? You DON’T need to require foreign pledges of allegiances to learn a language…F**K THIS INDOCTRINATIONAL BULLS**T!

  36. Ex-PH2 says:

    So, @22 — does that mean we remove the lunar lander from Tranquility Base and return our claim on the moon to the Lunatics?

    Should we also cede land to Sasquatch out in the PacNW as preserve?

    Are we going to return the entire Great Plains to the nomadic Lakota and Paiute and Blackfoot tribes, and bring the Comanche out of their ‘historical’ status?

    Do you have even the faintest idea of the American citizen population demographic in Texas?

    Alaska? The eastern half of Siberia has far more oil in the ground than the ANWAR reserve and the North Slope put together. The Russian government has storage vaults in Moscow filled to the ceiling with bags of uncut diamonds that they can’t market because the DeBeers Corp controls the diamond market. That was shown on a 1991 trip to Moscow by an ABC news crew. Putin has been using his ‘black gold’ as currency to put his country into a safer financial position.

    Maybe you should get some facts before you go off on the paranoid conspiracy theories tangent.

  37. Hondo says:

    Ex-PH2: there is indeed a strong reconquista movement in parts of the US Southwest and south Texas that advocates precisely what obsidian obliquely refers to above. Specifically, it openly advocates the return of pre-Mexican War territories that changed hands after that war (Aztlan) to Mexico.

    I don’t think that’s a realistic possibility. But I would not completely discount the issue as facetious, either. It does have much support in some areas and is being sold hard by some in academia and elsewhere.

  38. David says:

    I respectfully submit that if someone did try to give Texas back to Mexico, it would go poorly. ’nuff said.

  39. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hondon, if you’re talking about Truxillo and Gutierrez, the borrachado chicano bragging in a bar on Saturday night carries less weight that a bunch of grumpy conservative gringos with me.

    That’s like saying that Quebec is French if France was next door to Canada. Just because les Quebecois fancy themselves one better than the rest of Canada because they speak Canadian French doesn’t mean they’re really Frogs.

    Peña has already said there is no movement capable of undertaking this grab. Nativo Lopez, the president of the MAPA in Los Angeles, considers the reconquista a fringe element. In all seriousness, and considering the destructive force involved in groups like the Sinaloa drug cartel, do you think most people would really go along with something like that?

    I don’t. It’s more likely that the US would split into sharply divided political states, and that China, which practially owns the IMF and along with other countries in Asia is printing its own money through its banks without reporting it — yeah, they are doing that — that China would collapse financially and send cosmic economic ripples through the financial community.

  40. Twist says:

    Whenever someone says that America stole the SouthWest from Mexico mention the fact that Mexico stole the land from the
    Apache and Navajo 26 years earlier. The whole reason Santa Anna allowed the Americans into Texas is that he wanted them to get rid of the Apache.

  41. DaveO says:

    1834: Goliad, Texas: Mexicans murdered 303 Texian prisoners of war (Republic of Texas soldiers)

    1836: San Antonio, Texas: Mexicans killed between 182-257 Texian soldiers in the Alamo

    1846-8: Mexico get crushed like a bug under a boot heel by America. Mexico’s military performance at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war resemble the performance of a Pop Warner offensive line facing Ray Lewis.

    1854: “Mexicanos, al grito de guerra” (“Mexicans, at the cry of war”) is penned. It proves to be known well enough in Mexico that 89 years later it becomes Mexico’s national anthem. The US Marine Hymn with its lyric “From the Halls of Montezuma” becomes known throughout the world, especially in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914.

  42. B Woodman says:

    Shoot! If the Mexicans want some part of their former (now USA) lands back, give’em Kalifornication. And we keep Texas and the rest of the southwest. But we need to seal the Kalifornication border first to prevent the libtards from infecting the rest of the country.

  43. Just an Old Dog says:

    The worst thing out here is the Hispanics that were born and raised in the US (California) that consider themselves Mexicans in an occupied territory. They are actually taught that bullshit by their parents and its reinforce that bullshit. I’m talking even 2nd and 3rd Generation born American Citizens.

  44. John says:

    Fuck Mexico..