This has been an extremely bad week for Principal Greta Hawkins of PS 90 the Edna Cohen School in Coney Island. First, she was accused of being unpatriotic for banning kindergartners from singing "God Bless The USA" (aka “Proud To Be An American”) at their graduation ceremony (but allowed Justin Bieber's "Baby"). Then she received tons of hate mail because of it. And now she is being investigated for allegedly striking an 11-year-old.
The mother of fifth-grade student Jordan Leon claims Hawkins hit her son as she took away his cell phone following a lunch period at PS 90 last month. Jordan told the News he doesn't remember what happened: “It felt like I got hit. It was throbbing. I guess for some reason I blacked out,” said Jordan. His mother thinks he's traumatized: “His lip was red and swollen. He was crying and shaking,” the mother said. “I think he’s scared to say what happened. I think he’s hiding it.”
Meanwhile, Hawkins is still dealing with the fallout from her not allowing the kids to sing "God Bless The USA" because it might offend other cultures. Rep. Michael Grimm blasted the move, saying Hawkins was engraining an "anti-American message" in kids: “I am outraged that NYC’s Department of Education is standing by the decision of PS 90’s principal to pull the song ‘Proud to be an American’ from the upcoming kindergarten ceremony, for fear of offending other cultures," Grimm said in a statement. "The fact that the principal nixed the performance of this patriotic, G-rated song while permitting an inane and age-inappropriate Justin Bieber song about teenage romance only underscores my concern about the skewed views being forced on these students."
Police are also investigating racist hate mail Hawkins received this week. One letter read: “You are a filthy, dirty, ugly subhuman gorilla." Another read: “Let’s hope that AIDS will do what sickle cell anemia failed to do, exterminate your whole simian race." And the Post gave over space to several letters to the editors featuring rants against her, such as this level-headed one: "This is America, and we have patriotic songs. In her way, Hawkins is teaching these children to hate America and American patriotism."