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East Bay High School Drops National Anthem From Rallies

SAN RAMON (CBS SF) – A seldom sung third verse of the National Anthem has led to the patriotic song being removed from rallies at San Ramon's California High School.

The decision has sparked a controversy among local residents and students.

In a letter to the student body published in the school newspaper, Associated Student Body President Ariyana Kermanizadeh wrote the decision to drop "The Star Spangled Banner" from the school's winter rally was made after students became aware of the third verse.

"We had nothing but good intentions by removing the song so that we could be fully inclusive to our student body," Kermanizadeh wrote. "More specifically, the third verse of our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, states:

"No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and home of the brave."

"We understand that this third verse is not included when the anthem is performed, but still, what does this tell us?" Kermanizadeh continued.

The ASB's decision means that the Anthem will not be sung before any rallies for the remainder of the year.

While many students supported the decision, others voiced their opposition to the move in the student newspaper.

Senior Amir Udler told the paper – "It comes from a very disrespectful place," said Udler "[Leadership] said it was in the name of 'exclusivity', but in reality, [leadership] is disenfranchising the vast majority of the school who loves the country, and who thinks the anthem should be played."

Senior Dennis Fiorentinos also disagreed telling The Californian: "I respect their decision to make the change and I understand why they did it, but I feel that the anthem doesn't stand for that. I feel that California High School honoring and respecting those who have died protecting our freedom is more important."

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