NEW YORK, June 10 (UPI) -- A New York City school principal is refusing to let students sing a Lee Greenwood patriotic song during graduation, but says a Justin Bieber love song is OK.
Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90 in Coney Island, will not permit kindergartners to sing Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" at their June 20 graduation ceremony, the New York Post reported.
Hawkins apparently walked in on a rehearsal one day and ordered a CD playing the patriotic song to be shut off and told the teachers to drop the song from the program, teachers said.
"We don't want to offend other cultures," Hawkins told the teachers.
Parents and school staff said they were stunned by Hawkins' order.
"A lot of people fought to move to America to live freely, so that song should be sung with a whole lot of pride," said Luz Lozada, whose son, Daniel, is in kindergarten.
Lozada said another one of her children sang the song last year when fifth-graders performed it.
"Everybody applauded and whistled," Lozada said. "They gave it a standing ovation."
A teacher agreed, saying, "It makes them a little goose-bumpy and teary-eyed. I've never come across anyone who felt it insulted their culture."
Instead of singing "God Bless the USA," the students will be singing Bieber's "Baby."