In her "Big City" column Sunday, "Principal Is Trampled In a Rush to Vilify," New York Times reporter Ginia Bellafante (pictured) rushed to the defense of school principal Greta Hawkins, the subject of conservative criticism for cutting the patriotic song "God Bless the U.S.A." from her Coney Island kindergarten's graduation ceremony after months of childrens' rehearsals, saying it would "offend other cultures." The New York Post reported on June 9:
It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags -- which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.” But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said. She told the teachers to drop the song from the program. “We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.
Bellafante was only concerned about the principal who nixed the patriotic song, suggesting all criticism was invalid and personal: