The sun was just beginning to rise over the Rocky Mountains, but Sheriff Justin Smith was already awake. He was standing outside Fort Collins High School – shivering in the frigid cold.
It was 12 degrees. Snow was falling. But Mr. Smith, wearing his dress blues, stood resolute, waving an American flag.
The sheriff of Larimer County, Colorado had come to school Tuesday to send a message to those responsible for educating the county’s children. The sheriff was not in a good mood.
He was standing in the winter snow to protest the school’s decision to ban a celebration of American patriotism.
The student council had wanted to designate a day during Spirit Week to celebrate the red, white & blue. The young people called it “’Merica Monday.” But the school turned down their request.
“They said they didn’t want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants,” a 16-year-old member of the student council told me. “They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
But after a day of righteous Rocky Mountain outrage, the principal at Fort Collins High School reversed course and apologized.
Principal Mark Eversole sent a letter to parents announcing that next Monday would in fact be America Day.
Following is the entire letter that was obtained by Fox News Radio affiliate KCOL:
“We apologize for our recent decision regarding My Country Monday and that it was seen as not patriotic. This could not be further from the truth. The original intent of Spread the Love week at Fort Collins High School was to unify the student body. When students first proposed "Merica Monday," we felt that it was against this unifying theme and disrespectful to our country. Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative stereotypical way to describe life in the United States. This is what led us to discuss alternatives with students. We were surprised that our community interpreted our actions as anti-American. We are a proud public school in America and support many activities to celebrate our great nation. Due to this outpouring of sentiment and misinterpretation of our intentions, we have decided to rename the first day of Spread the Love week to "America Day" as opposed to "Merica Day." We look forward to enjoying the creativity and energy of our students as they celebrate their patriotism next week."
That’s not exactly how parents or students recall the events. They said they suggested “America Monday” but administrators rejected that idea. And members of the student council were adamant that the only reason the event was barred was to prevent non-Americans from being offended.