A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give

After reading this letter,   see the video at the bottom of this post, and then please post your comments.

from The Dennis Prager Show

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.

The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values — e pluribus unum, “from many, one.” And this school will be guided by America’s values.

This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English — but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f-word, you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky — to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

91 responses to “A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give

  1. This speech is really inspiring because this is the type of principals that high schools need. This principal sets an example of a leader. He guides teachers and students to follow righteousness. The truth is that every work done with passion and effort is the best one!

  2. I think most High School students would appreciate this man but seriously to get a teenager to listen is more difficult than catching a fish with your bare hands.

  3. No obscene language will be tolerated, that is a good rule. Whitney Houston sang the heck out of the star spangled banner!

  4. that was a great speech! more schools need principles like this to guide their teachers and their students on the right path. all schools should be like this, they should instead do their job with a passion then to do it just for the pay check.

  5. The speech was very nice and perhaps I like it so much because it reminds me of my own principal in high school. He was a very kind man who somehow managed to learn most of the kids names (I’m still confused as to how he learned mine) and he treated us with respect. My school was run almost the same way. We still had clubs that, when read down on paper, seemed like clubs based on ethnicity or sexual orientation, but they were far more focused on culture and exploring individuality. It was fantastic and my high school never really experienced any cliques based upon race or gender or orientation. It was an excellent learning environment and I’m glad to see that other schools were/are just as progressive as mine was.

  6. The principal shows some great points in his speech. Everything he says is on point. I don’t know how racism is still so alive in our country. I don’t understand why people still care so much what color the other is.

  7. This I absolutely love and admire the principal so much! All schools need to be more like this not only because racism is so outdated but it shows kids that we shouldn’t judge others on there skin color. We need more unity in our world and the racism needs to stop, so it should start somewhere., like our schools.

  8. Rosamaria Valdez-Lopez

    I would have appreciated and been more enthusiastic about school if my principal would have spoken these words to me and my classmates. To think that he believed inequality, other than education, I would have been the ought most respectful towards him. To have such an idea and try to make that idea happen would have been amazing. Our world and educational system should be changed and thought through more. I liked how he brought up race and sexuality and how it should not set us apart from each other. I think our system of education should be changed to this manner and extent.

  9. If we had principals like this person is describing, America’ youth would be far better off. A principal like that teaches morals and values, something many parents do not teach their kids which is VERY evident. I really enjoyed the part where he talked about removing racial clubs; this is why racism exists. These race clubs or groups further divides people and makes them feel less comfortable around those who are not in their group, causing them to have certain attitudes and views towards these people because they are “different” and stand out because they are not apart of their group.

  10. The man giving this speech has very strong and stern ideas about what the educational system should represent, however his ideas seem a little close-minded. The school that he runs will probably do great academically but may lack in other aspects of schooling.

  11. Truly inspirational.

  12. This would sound like a very good system of how to run a school but there are somethings that i think we should have at schools. I think ethnic clubs are actually a good thing. I belonged to one for 3 years when i was in high school yet it had nothing to do with my ethnic background. Although I am not at all french I learned many things about there culture and also made many new friends because of it.

  13. I agree with the speech. however, it seems too perfect. abiding by rules that seem so to the point and have no room to breath is in some way a turn off. diversity in schools would be more beneficial than a school ran by the principles speech.

  14. This is such a great speech! However, I personally don’t agree with everything his says. I applaud the meaning and effort, but I feel like it is just one step to a bland and grey school system. Unity is good, but diversity is good as well.

  15. What a good video. It is very important to know what the Pledge of Allegiance truly stands for. It was strange to hear the pledge without the words “Under God” in it because i am so used to the “modern” version.

  16. This is an interesting video. It is really important to knowing what the Pledge of Allegiance truly stands for, I now say it with pride. Every high school needs a principal like this to encourage them and further their education.

  17. It would be a beautiful sight if the principle could give this speech, allow the students to retain this information then act upon persuing this arguement to reform our schools for the next generation.

  18. This speech has valid arguments that should be addressed such as the need to end importance of ethnic division. I don’t think clubs that segregate people of the same school based on physical aspects are counter productive. It is great to be proud of ones heritage but it is also important to remain open minded and integrated.

  19. I like the topics this principal discusses because it shows originality unlike most principals in the generation. This speech might have an effect on the students and staff members but it will eventually wear out unless it is constantly regulated.

  20. Schools would be a lot different if every principal said this speech to their students.

  21. This speech should definitly be told at all public school. I had never really thought about a school going by those rules, but I thing it would be a great thing. Having a school that doesn’t promote ethnic clubs allows less exclutions. Though I still believe it is good to be educated about backgrounds of other cultures. More high school students and faculty should read this, and I think they would have a whole new perspective.

  22. This is definetely an interesting approach to running a school. I have never heard of a school that did not have ethnicity based clubs. I wish my high school did because I am mixed(half filipina, irish, and german) I always wondered to myself “hmm which club should I join” because a majority of our clubs were racially based.

  23. This video is great. We need more people in the public school system that really do care about the students.

  24. The pledge of allegiance viedo is outstanding. People don’t talk like that anymore, and honestly I believe we should. The emotion behind each word makes you think about how people today recite the pledge of allegiance. It is as if their is no meaning anymore to those words. Take the time to understand ,and then you will understand the meaning behind America.

  25. I like the topics this principal goes over. Schools shouldn’t be divided by race, it shouldn’t be split up into groups for any reason. We are all the same, no matter the color of our skin.

  26. This guy gets it, not to long ago kids were forced to go to diffrent school because of the color of their skin and there race. Its nice to see that there are some people that think as people as just americians, they dont see color or race, all they see is americians.

  27. The way this man started of his speech was awesome. And the fact that he took the time and initiative to introduce himself, to tell the students what his plans are, and what he expects was very credible. This man seems like he would be very effective.

  28. I absolutetly loved this speach. It was so direct and truthful, no lying and no BS, very straight forward. His ideas and goals, I believe are both good and bad. Some might disagree with him completly, but I believe we should all be considered Amercians because we all live in America and we all follow the American culture to some extent. We need more principals like him around schools, it can change the view of many things in this world.

  29. It might seem at first the principal is just dividing the groups and races but in the end i think i would unite the school.

  30. that is a very strong letter to the student of the school . it talked about respect and responsibility , i think that would be great to show student every year !

  31. I admire this principal for having the balls to address the issues in this speech. I believe principals should address students every year, as well as send home a copy to parents, so they can know the rules as well; before sending their daughters to school with mini skirts and busty tops on. There are some parts I felt were too controlling, but overall it was a great speech and more principals should address their schools in this manner. It is more beneficial to the students this way.

  32. This is priceless I wish this is the way that everyone thought. It may seem racist at first but in the end it really just units us as one people, Americans.

  33. This speech is very necessary in todays pubic schools because they are all about image and not about learning. Highschool kids care more about who is popular and what people wear they have no time to worry about their education. Public high schools need to change and this speech might just be what they need.

  34. This article is something school all over the world go over and i do agree with him on some of the point but there is nothing we can do to change this. But there are always going to be dumb people out there that judge other on how they look.

  35. Rules aren’t that hard to follow. For example, I don’t understand why so many people despise wearing uniforms. Even giving the school unnecessary trouble by not wearing them. It’s less time consuming to choose an outfit and is professional-looking. If people complain about having to wash it, purchase more sets. People shouldn’t waste so much time dressing up. The school isn’t the mall or a fashion show. However, I don’t completely agree with not allowing religion, ethnicity, and language in the schools because we need to be more informed about the world around us, not just ours. I do agree that it shouldn’t be paraded around though.

  36. This speech was very patriotic and put what i thought about groups of people in a different perspective.

  37. It is nice to see that there is at least one person in the educational system that is still in touch with our American values. This speech should be given at all schools!

  38. I definitely think that this speech should be encouraged at all high schools. People shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, or what language they speak.

  39. I think that it is great to see an educator today that is truly passionate about the students that they are serving and is genuinely concerned with the turn that our education system has taken. While we all want to believe that our educators of today all have this same goal in mind, that is not always the truth.

  40. THIS IS AWESOME!! I totally agree with announcing this at very high school, and middle school. My high school had a big problem with things like this dealing with racial remarks, separating people by skin color, or their ethnicity. Also, when people refuse to say the pledge because they of different ethnicity drives me crazy!

  41. This would be actually nice to see and hear if a principal actually did recite a speech like this. It would be nice in some concept. But I also believe others will disagree with everything he has said. And I don’t see anything wrong with speaking or knowing any other kind of languages but i do believe every in American SHOULD know how to speak Spanish. That was the first language that was spoken here.

  42. A great speech! Every high school needs a principal like this to encourage them and further their education. Every point he made is something to admire.

  43. This speech is great. I remember when I was in elemetary the whole school would do the pledge of allegience together and all stand up with your right hand over your heart. I can’t believe that some schools want to get rid of it. All of the changes this principle wants to make is awesome. I think it would be great for everyone if all schools where like this. It would truly make a defference.

  44. I agree with most of what was said in the speech i think is a step in the right direction even though there are some things i didn’t agree on sometims his tone seem too controling

  45. This article has really caught my attention. The writer brings up issues that are relevant to everyday life for some high school student. I believe that if some high school students read this it will bring their attention to some of the issues they deal with at school. It may cause them to want to fix some of them.

  46. I especially enjoyed the videos of great Whitney Houston. She showed true feelings and sounded like she really believed every word she sang about this country. Unfortunately drugs got the best of her but as a singer she was one of the greatest ever.

  47. I agree with most what was said in the speech. Though some of the comments stated in the speech were a little over the top and came off as controling the speech as a whole is a movement towards the right direction.

  48. That put a smile on my face when I read that. This should be brought about in all high schools. I love all the points the speaker made and agree with every point. It’s good that someone recognizes the problem in the public school system and is doing something about it.

  49. For the most part I agree with the speaker of this speech though some things did leave me a bit concerned and I was taken back from the tone of some of the comments in the speech, but all in all I think that it is a great idea and wish more would jump on this train.

  50. I thought this speech had many good points. I liked the fact that his focus remained on each students individuality.

  51. Rules aren’t that hard to follow. Like with uniforms. I don’t understand why so many people despise wearing them. It’s less time consuming to choose an outfit and is professional-looking. If people complain about having to wash it, purchase more sets. People shouldn’t waste so much time dressing up. The school isn’t the mall or a fashion show. However, I don’t completely agree with not allowing religion, ethnicity, and language in the schools because we need to be more informed about the world around us, not just ours. I do agree that it shouldn’t be paraded around though.

  52. I believe what that principal did was the right thing to do. This country’s education system is deteriorating at such a rapid rate. It sould worry everyone that many around countries from around the world are now surpassing are education system do to are ignorance. America 50 years ago was filled with the greatest minds on the plant but that former glory of intelligence and technological genius is no more and fading away. All due to everyone wanting everything easy and simple with little to no effort. The more segregated groups there are in schools the more barriers it places in society and this makes the same problems for the emerging groups that we had before just with more people involed.

  53. hahaha….Awesome. I wish more people had the courage to speak their mind. While it is true we all come from a unique heritage most of us especially those who immagrate are here for a reason. IIt is for that reason we should stick to the things that have made our country what it is today.

  54. I agree that this speech should be spoken to high schools and other high school principals should really consider changing their school to these standards. Maybe the students with respnd and start to make a difference in this country. It could cause some of an uproar and have people turn away from this but it is worth a try.
    Many people do not know the true meaning of the pledge of allegiance and they should take the time to watch this video to truely understand the words they are speaking.

  55. to be honest i have recited the plegde of allegence and never really stopped to think about what was just said and once i did it changed my mentallity of it completly.

  56. Most people recite the pledge of allegiance but don’t really know what it means. When you do, I agree that it changes the way you think about it. It wont remain just something you have to do in the morning at school, or just a tedious “thing.” Its important.

  57. Knowing what the Pledge of Allegiance and what it truly stands for, I now say it with pride. This has really changed my perspective on the pledge.

  58. If only this speech was given to EVERYONE…maybe there wouldn’t be so much hate or differences that people see in each other. Everyone is a human being, no matter what size, color, or belief. We were all born the same way, and in miraculous ones, we were taught and retaught how to individualize ourselves.

  59. Below you will find comments from some former students. Some of my English 1B students this semester have commented already in English 1A; If you haven’t read this particular writing before, please comment. This letter gives a great example of “what is” and “what is not” being taught in our K-12 system today. You will find the comment box at the end of the comments.

  60. After watching the video, it definitely made me view the Pledge of Alligiance in a different way. I never looked at it this way until now. Now when I say the Pledge of Alligiance, I will say it with pride and joy knowing the breakdown of what it actually means and stands for.

  61. I believe America would be an overall better place if every Principal gave this speech. It was truthful and meaningful to the reason behind education.

  62. The breakdown in the Pledge of Allegiance definitely put my in a different perspective. Before, they were just words we had to say each morning.

  63. WOW this a very interesting to read because all school should do this. But student nowadays do not listen to this. They do whatever they want. There are too much bad people out there but with this speech there will be a student there that hear this and will do something to improve this issue. And then the video was amazing i really did not understand what the pledge of allegiance was. I just knew i had to say it everyday at school.

  64. This might be the most straight forward proposal i have ever read. I love it. some say its to far fetched and over dramatic. But over dramatic and far fetched might just be exactly what every school needs to promise its students a great education. Schools and students have lost sight of what school is really for. Its not to show off what clothes you got for Christmas or the latest electronics.
    Look at the difference between the education we have now and the what it was 50 even 100 years ago? although change is not bad, i think we should remember out roots and stay humble and hungry for education

  65. This principal definitely has the right idea and in a perfect utopia that plan would be successful. The sad thing is that despite regulations that he places, people will always be discriminatory and nothing is to stop them outside of school. I completely agree with the man for the most part but his view is to farfetched.

  66. Interesting speech, however I don’t agree his point of view regarding clubs. Clubs are not meant to exclude anyone because of their race. In fact, I think it creates diversity and allows students to learn about different cultures.

  67. I liked the break down of the pledge, before this they were just words that i had to say every morning that had absolutely no valve to me.

  68. I partially agree with this. It true that the school would be more successful and better. But not everything’s perfect and go the way it should be. Yes, we are all different, but most of us reach for the same goal.

  69. Some of the points he’s making are a little off. He may want to check them out.

  70. this speech is very bold, although some points he makes seems reasonable, the other things he points out seems like it will diminish diversity in schools.

  71. AGREED that principals should give this speech, but there are a couple of points that he needs to double check.

  72. I liked the video, but I didn’t agree with some of the points in the writing. People need those special groups and clubs because they know they are accepted.

  73. I like this speech and I can see why he chose the things he had said. He is a principal of high school first and foremost. Putting great emphasis on education is what a principal should do and should be expected of him. In that respect, I can see why he had said, in regarding to clubs, “I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.” Because such activity can deter a student. And a school that wants to do its best for a good education for its students, it makes sense why he would exclude these.

    While I like his speech, I would like to visit this high school. Has the principal successfully implemented this?

  74. I agree with everything that this man said. School is a place to learn and interact with each other not to separate and form individual groups.

  75. This is smart the more we take out the race of origins the more people will start forgetting that there are different people in America, and will possibly decrease the amount of racism that is still out there in the country. He speaks a lot of truth and should be the principle that spreads the word to all other principles and school.

  76. This clearly explains what America is built on, and why we owe our resspect to it. I never really felt the need to recite it because I did know what it meant. Now i have more respect for it.

  77. This speech had a lot of truthful meaning to it. If only all school leaders followed this then maybe our schools would be more successful.

  78. I agree with some of the points made in the speech. I think that this speech was made with good intentions. However, I do not agree with all the points made. I think that there is already a big problem with teen pregnancy in America. I can not even bare to imagine how much it would worsen if they stopped educating young kids about sex ed.

  79. I have mixed feeling towards his speech. I agree with someof the rules and disagree with others. I don’t understand why one can not join an group that they belong to. For all one could know they dont know much about their own culture.

  80. The part that i thought was most interesting was how he said that our republic should reflect through elected officials what they people chose, not what the elected officials chose for the people. What happened to this part of a republic.

  81. I agree with him and I support the rules. School is a place for learning, not for parading yourself around with vulgar language and racial pride. However, there should still be clubs or classes on race, sexual orientation, languages, etc. so that the students don’t become clueless or ignorant about others. If people don’t like the rules, they can go somewhere else. They’re not that hard to follow.

  82. I don’t agree with all of his speech but overall, I like it. As someone mentioned earlier, this is not Mexico so English should be the primary language. I recently attended a graduation ceremony and couldn’t believe that they spoke Spanish first, then translated to English. I think it was a good speech, but a few ideas were a bit extreme.

  83. Great sounds good we are all equal here, we all will have the same goal, focus on what your here to do learn.

    Change is good, i dont know how bad this school was before him, but too much change at once will cause rebellion.

  84. He said some good things but i think some things may make students rebel against their principal and school as a whole because too many rules will drive students crazy

  85. I believe this principal has good intentions. However, he should not ban these clubs that are focused on ethnicity. For one, these clubs do not reject people from joining based on race. These clubs are built on education, not to exclude others. Most high school classes do not offer classes that teach their students about different cultures and due to budget cuts, many schools in California only offer one language: Spanish. To actually ban these clubs (not classes) would encourage ignorance and possibly racism.

  86. The speech was pretty gutsy on his part, especially to implement into a school being a new principal. My thought is how many teachers would actually revolt because of his ideas and ways becuase they dont believe in his views or thoughts. On the other hand, it really would help our society understand how we are all the same and need to adapt to the ways of our society while in schools not of the society of your ethnicity at home.

  87. i do agree that we should not be barricaded by race and gender but as people, however i think its the difference that makes us better interesting individuals. all in all i thought the speech was interesting

  88. I agree with having to speak English to go to our schools, this is America, not Mexico, not China and not Europe. I agree that foul language should never be used in school, but some of the points he made seem a little extreme. Just because he removes groups that identify with ethnic groups does not mean that he will eliminate the animosity that is there between the groups.

  89. I like this guy. And what a great contrast between the ideas of capitalism and communism. He has found a middle ground. I almost wanted to stand and do the Pledge of Allegiance with him…. Almost.

  90. This speech seems very courageous. Although I do admire the points that he made. I do not agree with them all. I think that the different groups in high school help you meet people with the same backgroung as yourself. Although they might not be seen as creating unity, they help you create an identity of your own.

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